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U Of U Health Physicians Look Back On Year Of Pandemic

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Health care professionals at University of Utah Health on Friday reflected on the one-year anniversary of treating the first COVID-19 patients.

The year did not come without obstacles, but they recognized what they have learned as well as their achievements.

During a media conference, one of the hospital’s first patients also spoke. He said he had a 3% chance of survival because of his underlying health conditions.

Today, he’s doing well. He said staying optimistic has helped him in his recovery.

“I have a few minor cognitive problems, but I see them getting better,” said California resident Neil Murphy.

He spent 13 days in the U of U intensive care unit in March 2020.

Incidentally, he was visiting his son in Utah when Murphy came down with symptoms. His son just happened to be a doctor at the same hospital where his father was being treated.

“It was definitely hard,” said Neil Murphy’s son, Ryan. “It was those first few days we were not sure he was going to make it.”

It was a rough road, but 75-year-old Neil Murphy fought hard – and he was in good hands.

Like Neil Murphy, University of Utah Health faced challenges during the past year. During a time where there were more unknowns than knowns, health care workers continued to learn and respond.

Now, new efforts at the hospital include a COVID-19 long haulers clinic.

“It’s already in progress. There’s various physicians in various groups in medicine and other specialties that are working on coordinating following those patients longer term and looking to see if we can learn something from them and what we can do to improve some of these less well understood effects of Covid,” said Dr. Sankar Swaminathan, Chief of Infectious Disease at U of U health.

U of U Health also announced it will be within alignment with Gov. Spencer Cox’s vaccine expansion, which now includes patients older than 50 and those 16 and older with underlying health conditions.

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