Our colleague, Mark Hagee, recently recovered from COVID-19 and sat down with us to discuss his experience navigating the healthcare system as a patient. Mark is a healthy, active, slightly overweight 54 year old. Here is his story.
When did you begin to feel ill and suspect it may be COVID?
On September 24th, I began to experience symptoms, such as body aches, headache, fever, coughing, shortness of breath – all the classic COVID symptoms.
When I began to feel worse the next day and my wife was also ill, we strongly suspected we had contracted COVID. We scheduled a test for September 26th to confirm our suspicions and both of our tests came back positive.
How did you realize you needed treatment from a healthcare facility?
We weren’t improving with bed rest and OTC medications at home, so our doctor decided we should be treated at our local hospital with an infusion of monoclonal antibodies. He arranged for us to have an appointment later that week, on September 29th. Being in the healthcare industry, I knew my doctor was right.
What happened after your infusion?
As my wife and I were leaving after our infusions, I couldn’t breathe and was unable to walk to the elevator. We were directed immediately to the Emergency Department, where I was quickly admitted after triage. In the ED, I had a chest x-ray and bloodwork taken and was given fluids. The x-ray showed signs of pneumonia and my heart
rate was elevated (155) and my blood pressure was low, although my sat rate remained in the 90s.
After several hours in the ED, I requested to go home and the doctor agreed to discharge me. I was sent home with the usual boilerplate paperwork, even though I couldn’t walk to my car and my heart rate was still very high. Over the next few days, I recuperated at home but received no follow-up from the hospital or my PCP to see if my condition was improving.
Luckily, I have a friend who is a physician that I was able to reach out to with any questions I had and I have family close by to monitor my symptoms as I recovered. I do think, though, about people who don’t have the resources that I do.
What would you have done differently?
If you know that there’s a company out there like Community Wellness, who can help you monitor your patients while they recover at home, why wouldn’t you implement their services? I would have felt much more comfortable being sent home with the appropriate RPM equipment (pulse oximeter, spirometer, thermometer) and knowing that a clinical coach would follow up with me on a regular basis.
It is such a simple way to improve patient outcomes. The hospital can manage patients post-discharge and patients have peace of mind knowing that they are still being monitored as they recover.