Patient battles post-COVID conditions
Southcoast Health saved my life – patient battles post-COVID conditions
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that more than 50 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 since January 2020, when the first case was reported in the U.S. While some people seem to fully recover, others experience potentially serious post-COVID conditions, also known as long-haul COVID or long COVID.
Chris McCarthy, New Bedford’s WBSM’s morning radio host, has not only experienced post-COVID conditions but fought for his life as his health deteriorated because of it.
“Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19” (CDC).
In March of 2021, Chris started feeling unwell. When his symptoms worsened, he checked into St. Luke’s Hospital. He remained in the hospital for 50 days, and faced an even longer uphill battle following his discharge.
As a direct result of his COVID-19 infection, Chris experienced a heart attack, multiple strokes, double pneumonia, impaired speech (due to long-term intubation), and a loss of muscle function, affecting his ability to walk. He even needed to be resuscitated with defibrillation.
“St. Luke’s saved my life,” Chris said. “I died, and they brought me back.”
From death’s door to rehabilitation, Chris has experienced more than most [relatively] healthy 49-year-olds—demonstrating that COVID-19 can have long-term effects on anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, or health status.
“I had to relearn things that you should be able to do [like walking and caring] for yourself,” Chris said. “It was a disappointing thing to have happen to you.”
Battling worsening post-COVID symptoms since June 2021, Chris re-entered Southcoast’s care at the Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Center at Charlton Memorial Hospital.
“I owe Southcoast Health’s Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation for everything that I can currently do, physically,” Chris said. “I can’t say enough—the attitude, the empathy, the enthusiasm for my recovery has been tremendous.”
“As bad as my health has been, I couldn’t have it any better than my care at Southcoast,” Chris said. “I’m only alive because of Bea (Beatriz Mimoso, MA CCC-SLP, and Speech Pathologist/Rehab Team Lead) and her staff.”
Chris’ care at St. Luke’s Hospital and Charlton Memorial Hospital gave him a new lease on life.
“He’s done all the hard work,” said Bea. “He’s has been so motivated and so enthusiastic while doing therapy.”
Chris looks back at his journey from St. Luke’s to Rehabilitation at Charlton and shares the important message about vaccination on his road to recovery.
“I wasn’t able to get the vaccine when I contracted COVID (in March). Otherwise, I would have gotten it.”
Chris hopes his story can demonstrate the consequences of being unvaccinated and the negative impact it has had on his health.
COVID-19 vaccines offer effective protection against COVID-19 and help keep adults and children from getting seriously ill. In addition, COVID-19 vaccines can reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Vaccination for anyone ages five years and older can help reduce the risk for those not eligible for vaccination and for family members who may be at high risk for serious illness.
Especially given the recent surge in positive cases, vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the community from COVID-19. Southcoast Health urges everyone to get the facts to make an informed decision.
Visit www.southcoast.org/covid-19-vaccination to find upcoming vaccination opportunities at Southcoast Health, and please speak to your medical provider if you have questions or concerns. You can also find other places to get vaccinated at www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccination-locations.