Doctor who came out of retirement to help amid COVID-19 pandemic develops illness himself – WGN TV Chicago

Posted: April 21, 2020 at 3:47 pm


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A retired emergency medicine physician who answered the call of the governor and returned to work has a health update of his own.

WGN has been following Dr. Scott Altman, since mid-March. He was eager to jump back into action and help during the COVID-19 crisis. Along the way, hes shared updates from his post at Advocate Christ Medical Center in south suburban Oak Lawn.

Im working down at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn on their strike team within their command center helping to process admissions, approving the testing for coronavirus because testing is so limited, helping manage patient flow, Altman said.

Then, on April 10, Altman woke up feeling a bit under the weather. He said he had a runny nose, itchy eyes and a cough.

What he thought was a bout with spring allergies, turned out to be the very virus he came out of retirement to help fight.

I had done three shifts that week, but I just felt more tired than I expected and I woke up Saturday morning and there was no question felt like I had been hit by a train, he said. Sore, achy, the worst part was the stomachache. I never had fever, never had much of a cough, never had shortness of breath the usual symptoms they tell you to watch out for.

After two or three days, Altman felt he was out of the woods. However, he said shortly after, the second wave of the sickness came. He said it was worse than the first. He said he was wheezing, coughing and could feel weight and heaviness in his chest.

Its something infectious disease doctors have described as they learn more about how COVI-19 behaves in the body a second wave of symptoms much stronger than the first.

And then yesterday morning, I woke up and it was over. Wow. As easily as I knew, last Saturday morning that I had it. When I woke up yesterday morning, it was gone, he said.

He said while he still had a lack of energy, he didnt have a fever and didnt have difficulty breathing.

The virus did spread throughout his household, but his wife and children are doing well. As he recovers at home, Altman said he hasnt put much thought into his journey from retiree, to someone back on the frontlines, to COVID-19 patient.

Health care workers, this is what we do, he said. We really dont go into health care with a sense that we are immune to what ails our patients.

Health care workers can be cleared to return to work if they are symptom-free after 72 hours. Altman is planning to go back on Wednesday.

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Doctor who came out of retirement to help amid COVID-19 pandemic develops illness himself - WGN TV Chicago

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April 21st, 2020 at 3:47 pm

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