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COVID-19 Hits Physician Couple: Dramatically Different Responses

What your doctor is reading on Medscape.com:

APRIL 11, 2020 — A physician couple who both had COVID-19 had very different responses — one ending up in intensive care, the other asymptomatic.

Their story, one of two people living together but with such different responses to the infection, illustrates how much is still to be learned about COVID-19, says Noopur Raje, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Multiple Myeloma at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston.

“After experiencing #Covid_19 from the patient/caregiver end despite both of us being physicians at a major academic medical center, this has been a challenge like no other I have experienced,” Raje (@NoopurRajeMD) wrote on Twitter. 

1/I never tweet about personal issues—but this is way too important—I am COVID positive and asymptomatic and have been a caregiver for my husband @JagSinghMD who was critically ill with #COVID19. I’ve learned some things – please follow for more 1/25

— Noopur Raje (@NoopurRajeMD) April 5, 2020

She outlined their experiences in a Twitter thread, and elaborated in an interview with Medscape Medical News.

Raje says that she wants clinicians to know how symptoms can evolve both quickly and suddenly.

She recalls how for 10 days, she cared for her COVID-19–positive husband at home, separated from him by a floor in their Boston townhouse and wearing a surgical mask and gloves to bring him food and fluids, as he was too weak to help himself.

Despite the high fevers, chills, extreme fatigue, and dramatic weight loss, Raje says she felt reasonably confident that her husband was getting better. His temperature had dropped from around 103 to 101, his heart rate was in the 80s, and his blood pressure was “OK,” she recalls.

But then Jag Singh, MD, an otherwise healthy 55-year-old Harvard professor and cardiologist, started to cough — and everything suddenly changed.

The cough sounded chesty, and he was weak and unwell. They decided that he needed medical help.

“I was planning on driving him to the hospital, but I ended up having to call 911, although we literally live across the street,” she said.

“We have stairs here and I wasn’t sure that he would be able to make it coming down with me trying to help him, so the safest thing was for me to call for help.”

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