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COVID-19 Patient Who Received Double-Lung Transplant Faces Long Road To Recovery
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United States of America (the)
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Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS)
CHICAGO – Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 28-year-old Mayra Ramirez was working as a paralegal for an immigration law firm in Chicago. She enjoyed walking her dogs and running 5K races.
Ramirez has a condition requiring medication that could’ve suppressed her immune system but was otherwise healthy. When the Illinois governor issued a shelter-in-place order in March, she began working from home, hardly leaving the house. So she has no idea how she contracted COVID-19.
In April, she started experiencing chronic spasms, diarrhea, loss of taste and smell and a slight fever.
“I felt very fatigued,” Ramirez says. “I wasn’t able to walk long distances without falling over. And that’s when I decided to go into the emergency room.”
What she thought would be a short stay led to a months-long hospitalization in the intensive care unit. Her lungs were so severely damaged that Ramirez was unlikely to survive, even after clearing the virus from her system.
As a last resort, on June 5, her doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital performed a rare double-lung transplant that gave Ramirez a second chance at life. She became the first known COVID-19 patient in the U.S. to undergo the procedure.
Since that time, she has been steadily regaining function but has a long road to recovery ahead.
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