In our second episode of the Covid Matters podcast, Dr Nathalie MacDermott tells us her personal story of having contracted long Covid and what more needs to be done to support long Covid patients.
Dr Nathalie MacDermott was working her clinical job in paediatric infectious diseases and Immunology and bone marrow transplant when she first contracted Covid from a colleague. Despite making a smooth recovery, she fell prey to Covid a second time while, ironically, looking after children with a post-Covid ailment – multi-system inflammatory syndrome. This time, her recovery was plagued by an intense, neuropathic pain in her feet which remained for months, even as all her other symptoms abated after a few weeks. It was only when she was pointed to a “Doctors with long Covid” group on Facebook that she realised that she was not the only one facing ongoing health problems after Covid.
Together with her Facebook community, in her attempts to raise awareness for dealing with long Covid, it became evident that there was a dearth of research on long Covid, with the pathology unknown and an ambiguous definition, due to the variation in terms of the duration after acute Covid and the 200 different symptoms that one could potentially experience. As much as she found the Facebook group critically helpful, she suggested a need to amply recognise cases of long Covid by investigating hidden cases and underlying conditions, investing more in facilities and expertise to identify long Covid, and provide additional support for long Covid patients as they go back into their jobs.
Her experience of long Covid has led her to marry her academic focus with her lived experience, as she focuses her research on the effect of long Covid in the paediatric control population.
Dr Nathalie MacDermott sits on the expert advisory panel for covid:aid, and is a clinical doctor and academic researcher at Kings’ College London, specialising in paediatric infectious diseases in the NHS. She also has significant experience in medical response to disaster and epidemic situations in Africa and Asia.
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