Temple's post-COVID-19 Recovery Clinic aims to help 'long-haulers'

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- If you had the coronavirus and feel like you are still having symptoms weeks later, then you may be what's being called a "long-hauler". These are people who are still dealing with the effects of the illness when they should have recovered.

Luckily, there might be some help.

69-year-old Stephen Patrizio of Glen Mills, PA, is an active man. He keeps fit going to the gym and using a stationary bike at home. He also works long hours as a lawyer in Center City. That's until COVID-19 hit close to home.

"I was coming home from court and my son called me and said mom doesn't look well," he said.

He took her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Then Patrizio got it and was hospitalized for six days. But weeks later he was still severely run down.

"I'm a very active person and I had tremendous fatigue and it was very depressing to me," he said.

There's even a name for these patients. They are called "long-haulers".

"The Italian study that looked at the long-haulers showed that you know the top five symptoms are fatigue, joint pain, chest pain, breathlessness in that order," said Dr. Parag Desai ,who specializes in thoracic medicine and surgery.

Temple Health has set up a post-COVID recovery clinic for these patients. One to get them relief but two for education.

"With this disease, we do need to learn about it as time goes on. And I think people need to be vigilant about getting seen," said Dr. Desai.

Temple said a significant number of the people that they see in the clinic are long-haulers.

"I would say about it's a little more than 50% to 60% of patients that tend to have some symptoms," said Dr. Desai.

For Patrizio going to the clinic changed everything.

"Here was the great thing about Temple, everything was seamless. The testing was really personable and quick," he said.

All he needed was an inhaler to get him back to normal.

Temple's post COVID recovery clinic is open to anyone, not just those that live in the city. And telemedicine visits are possible.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.