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Never panic but don’t underestimate Covid-19, says recovered paediatric surgeon

Joseph Varghese

Saturday، 23 May 2020 10:38 PM

People should never panic about Covid-19, but must also not underestimate the disease and should follow all social distancing measures, a paediatric surgeon who recovered from Covid-19 recently told Gulf Times.

“First thing is that you must not panic about Covid-19 as it is not very deadly and only a very low percentage of the people are affected severely by this disease. But at the same time, don’t underestimate the disease. People must strictly follow the directives of the government and healthcare officials and stay home as much as possible,” said Dr Muthana al-Salihi, who works as a paediatric surgeon with Sidra Medicine as well as Hamad Medical Corporation.

Dr al-Salihi, who plans to resume his work after the Eid holidays, says he has no idea how he contracted the disease.

“I do not know how I contracted this disease. I was never in physical contact with any Covid-19 cases and had always taken all the Precautions. So, it points to the fact that all should take the maximum care to avoid the spread of the disease,” he noted.

According to Dr al-Salihi, it all started on April 12. “It started with non-specific symptoms such as a sore throat and severe back pain. Three days later, I lost taste and smell sensations totally. So, I checked with some of my colleagues specialised in infectious diseases, who advised me to undergo a swab test” he continued.

“I waited for two more days and during this period I developed dry cough and chest pain. Then I was taken to the Communicable Disease Center (CDC) where they collected all the details and took the swab test. It was April 19 and I tested positive for Covid-19. I was asked to isolate from my family members and a medical team arrived and did a swab test of all the people in the family,” he recalled.

The same day, he was taken to the CDC and the medical team conducted several blood tests and an x-ray was taken. “Later, they confirmed that the infection had entered my lungs and I was suffering from pneumonia. However, it was moderate and I was admitted to the hospital and they started medication. There were five types of medication and two of them were antibiotics. They also treated me with an

antimalarial drug and two antiviral medicines,” he added.

The paediatric surgeon pointed out that all these are supportive medications help prevent the progression of the virus while some of them might have helped improve immunity.

“My conditions started improving after five days and I was under regular monitoring for vital signs and oxygen saturation by the medical team and the nursing staff. After seven days, I was swabbed and it turned to be negative. After 24 hours, another swab test was done, which also turned to be negative. So, I was declared ‘recovered’ as the recovery procedure mandates two negative swab tests in 24 hours. I had a total stay of nine days in the hospital,” he noted.

He continued the medication for another couple of days and underwent 14 days of quarantine as advised by the medical team to isolate himself from others, especially from people with chronic illnesses, elderly people and other vulnerable groups.

“One week after getting discharged from the hospital, I became normal and all the symptoms of Covid-19 disappeared. I thank all the heroes of the medical team in Qatar, the entire healthcare system and the government for the excellent care. I am also thankful for the mental and psychological support in helping me recover from the disease,” added the Iraqi national who has worked in Qatar for the last 15 years.



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