It’s wonderful news that there appear to be two vaccines for the COVID-19 disease. Hopefully, the world will return to normal soon. For some people who contract the disease, however, their world may never return to fully normal. Studies are showing that about one in seven COVID-19 patients have neurological disorders. These disorders range from temporary confusion to strokes and seizures.
The study was conducted by researchers at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, and published in the journal Neurology online October 5. Researchers examined 606 adult COVID-19 patients who were in one of NYU’s four Langone hospitals – between March 10 and May 20, the peak time for the disease in New York. Nearly 4,500 patients tested positive for COVID-19 at the four hospitals during that time frame. The study was prompted by how severely the disease spiked in Europe and Asia.
The study found that some of the neurological problems that developed within 48 hours of developing common COVID -19 symptoms (difficulty breathing, coughing, and fever) included:
- Confusion due to chemical electrolyte imbalances
- Severe infections
- Kidney failure
The study also reported that:
- About 50% of the affected patients were older than 71
- 66% of the affected patients were men
- 63% of the affected patients were white
The lead investigator of the study, Jennifer A. Frontera, MD., said that neurological complications are secondary to being severely ill and “suffering from low oxygen levels in the body for prolonged periods of time.”
Dr. Frontera also noted said that “the study results do suggest that Blacks are not at greater risk of neurological complications than other COVID-19 patients, which is ‘welcome news,’ given that Blacks are widely known to be at greater risk of death from coronavirus infection.” She added, though, that more investigation is required.
The study revealed some positive news. There were no cases of “brain or nerve inflammation including conditions such as meningitis or encephalitis,” indicating that the brain and nerves weren’t being immediately invaded. As Covid-19 mainly targets the lungs, this new information fits – but it’s still good to see the data.
However, the neurological complications can significantly increase the odds of a patient dying while they are hospitalized. The odds of requiring long-term care and rehabilitation therapy (immediately after the hospital stay) increase by 28% for patients who have COVID-19.
The study emphasized the need to aggressively work to stabilize body oxygen levels in patients who have COVID-19, “to prevent and/or possibly reverse neurological problems.” Increasing oxygen levels, according to one researcher, includes, “early intubation or use of heart–lung machines, called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, which mechanically ‘clean’ the blood and ‘deliver’ oxygen into it.”
At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, our Memphis injury lawyers are keeping current with many aspects of the pandemic including how the disease is affecting people’s long-term health. We wish everyone good health during these difficult times. In some cases, victims of COVID-19 may be entitled to certain health care benefits. To discuss any personal injury claim, please call us at 901-475-7434 or use our contact form to schedule a consultation. We have offices in Memphis and Jackson.
Since graduating magna cum laude in 2005 from the University of Memphis School of Law, Thomas has helped make a difference in the lives of victims of serious personal injury, wrongful death, and professional negligence. Thomas has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Among other victories in the courtroom, Thomas obtained several impressive jury verdicts and settlements
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