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Dallas' Parkland Hospital Dedicates Clinic For Those Battling 'Long COVID'

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It's the fate for a number of COVID-19 survivors that leaves them in endless, lingering pain.

The list of those suffering from what's known as long COVID continues to grow.

So much so that Parkland Hospital now has a dedicated clinic to helping patients recover.

"My limbs felt cold the beginning," said former COVID-19 patient Sam Rafferty. "I was terrified and I was convinced I was dying."

The 51-year-old was describing how she felt after she thought her battle with COVID-19 was over.

She is among millions of people who survived the virus only to be racked by aches, pains, fatigue, heart problems and nerve damage.

Dr. Surendra Barshikar oversees Parkland Hospital's COVID-19 Recovery Clinic where 50 patients are currently being treated on an outpatient basis.

"Many of them were on either life-support ventilator and a prolonged ICU stay," said Dr. Barshikar. "They are seeing a lot of nerve injuries. They're seeing foot drops, wrist drops."

That nerve damage is one of many lingering effects of the virus that also includes lung, heart and neurological problems.

"We have not truly understood what type of patient or why one person gets long COVID the other one does not," Dr. Barshikar said while adding, being vaccinated can make a difference.

"People who are vaccinated have less chances of getting long COVID. I would say vaccinate. Go for that vaccination that will help you prevent severe COVID," Dr. Barshikar said.

Government health officials have allocated a billion dollars to study causes and treatments for long COVID.

Parkland Hospital says it's encouraged that about two-thirds of the long COVID patients have recovered with the help of the new clinic.

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