Opinion: My mother’s recovery from COVID-19

In early April, my 74-year-old mother, a high-risk patient, contracted COVID-19 while in an assisted living facility in Pennsylvania. She was successfully treated in a hospital outside of Philadelphia with a blend of treatments including oxygen, chloroquine (treatment for malaria), antibiotics and Tylenol.

Because of the attentive healthcare workers and their responsiveness, she was not put on a ventilator, despite her sudden spike in fever and drop in oxygen levels. Some physicians treating COVID-19 patients report ventilators to be causing more harm than good and should be used only as a last resort. This has been reaffirmed by the recent treatment guidelines issued by the National Institute of Health. I am eternally grateful for the excellent and smart care that my mother received and it has made me think about the big picture of present and future therapies for COVID-19.

Physicians and hospitals should be open to all possible treatments for COVID-19.  Successful treatments, like the ones my mother received, are available now. Patients have also had successful recoveries using Remdesivir, a strong antiviral medicine.  And most recently, a very old therapy model – blood plasma from recovered patients – is being seriously investigated. Other methods for healing patients have been reported around the globe but are not routinely explored here. Intravenous Vitamin C, a known anti-inflammatory nutrient and immune system booster, is just one of these. Treatments using a mix of hydrogen and oxygen gases, known as hydrogen therapy, seem to be able to turn oxygen deprivation symptoms around by reducing the causes of inflammation in the body.

In addition, homeopathy has had success in India for COVID-19, as it has had success in many other times in history during widespread infections.

Our medical professionals and government leaders must be open to learning from other successful methods around the world. Being open to various ways of treating patients will save lives. As one of New Jersey’s new laws removes malpractice liability for healthcare practitioners during this crisis, there is a great opportunity to think outside the box and to try new treatments with patient consent.

Attempts at creating a vaccine for coronavirus have not been successful in the past. Our focus should be on individualized treatments. Even if a vaccine is successfully developed, it won’t be ready for use for a long time (one year to 18 months) and it will not be appropriate for everyone. It is imperative to find feasible solutions for infected individuals now.

Making sure that we maintain and strengthen treatment options is not only important for COVID-19 and any infection but it is also critical for individual health.  s we move forward to the point when we can return to our lives – our livelihoods, schooling and social gatherings – let us make sure to preserve health care choices. And let us not allow politics, business incentives or tunnel vision get in the way of truly healing people who become ill.

Hilary Jersey