WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A man in California recovered from the coronavirus after almost all of his fingers were amputated.
- Gregg Garfield, one of the first COVID-19 cases in California, is warning Americans to take the coronavirus seriously after he caught the virus in February during a ski trip with friends.
- He was treated for 64 days at the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Garfield, where his bill reached $2 million.
A California man is warning Americans to take the virus seriously after losing almost all of his fingers due to complications from COVID-19.
Gregg Garfield, 54, caught the virus in February during a ski trip with his friends to the Italian Alps. He was one of the first COVID-19 cases in California. All 13 people in the ski trip tested positive for COVID-19, but Garfield had the worst case.
Known as “patient zero” at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Garfield, his doctors gave him a 1 percent chance of survival.
“Medically speaking, I should not be here,” he told KTLA. “From MRSA, to sepsis, to kidney failure, to liver failure, pulmonary embolisms, burst lungs — four of them.”
Garfield was treated in the hospital for 64 days. He was on a ventilator for almost half of his hospital stay.
“We would gage the success of his health and the little victories by knowing that the vent settings came down and he was breathing a little bit more by himself,” Garfield’s girlfriend, A.J. Johnson, said.
In early May, Garfield was discharged from the hospital but most of his fingers were amputated — all of the fingers on his right hand and most on his left.
“I’ve survived this. I’m doing fantastic,” Garfield said nearly three months later. “However, take heed on this. My hands are never going to be the same. I don’t have fingers anymore.”
“I’m here to tell ya: This could happen to you,” he told Inside Edition. “And there’s no rhyme or reason behind it.”
Garfield and Johnson advise people in California and across the U.S. to be careful and wear masks.
“It should not be political,” Johnson told KTLA. “We need to come together as humans.”
Garfield will be undergoing several surgeries to reconstruct his fingers, and will get a prosthetic for his right hand. His hospital bill amounted to $2 million, which was covered by insurance. His prosthetic is not so his brother is raising money for Garfield’s medical expenses on GoFundMe.
And despite the circumstances of his lost fingers, Garfield responded “hell yeah” after Johnson asked if he’ll hit the slopes again. “Assuming coronavirus allows us to,” she added.