‘We’re not being listened to’: COVID-19 long-haulers describe fighting for medical care

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TORONTO – COVID-19 long-haulers say it’s been a struggle to receive medical care, especially to receive proper diagnosis and treatment. Ruth Castellanos says she was sick with COVID-19 in mid-May, but still wasn’t feeling well weeks after her cough and fever subsided.

She says she called her doctor to explain her persistent symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue and neurological problems.

“I was told to start exercising again and get on with my life and I couldn’t even get up,” Castellanos told CTV News Channel on Saturday. “I spoke to someone else until another doctor diagnosed me with post-viral syndrome from COVID.”

When asked why she had to fight so hard for her doctors to see that something was wrong, Castellanos explained, “Doctors don’t know much about this, nobody knows that. is a brand new virus.

She added, “It’s so hard to explain how debilitating this has been and how life has changed it and it still is.

Patients who show persistent symptoms of COVID-19 months after becoming infected with the virus are known as “long-haul”. Scientists have found that some of the long-term effects include damage to the heart as well as neurological issues such as brain fog and difficulty thinking.

Castellanos says his first symptoms were seen by doctors as anxiety.

Jackie Lorre, RN at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener, says she shares Castellanos’ frustrations.

“Sometimes I think we just feel like we’re not being listened to,” Lorre said. “I think the belief system at the start of the pandemic was that you are infected for two to three weeks and then the symptoms go away and you are fine.”

She added: “I think it was a shock to health care experts that many of us suffer the long term consequences of this virus.”

Long-haul COVID-19 carriers call on public health experts to improve the country’s preparedness for rapidly spreading viruses and expand the knowledge of primary care physicians to enable faster diagnoses.

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