Gregg Garfield Covid 19 Patient Zero

When my brother Gregg left on Feb. 20 for his annual boys' ski trip adventure, he had no idea 10 days later he would begin his most difficult journey to date- fighting for his life.  On March 5, 2020 Gregg checked himself into St. Joseph's Providence Hospital Burbank with serious Covid-19 symptoms.  He was the hospital's first Covid-19 patient, or "Patient Zero" as they call him.  Two days later, under heavy sedation and paralytic drugs, the doctors intubated him- around day 10 doing a tracheostomy- and he continued to be on a ventilator for 31 days.    During that time his body became septic; his kidneys failed and he was put on CRRT dialysis; his blood pressure plummeted and he needed medications to divert his blood-flow to his major organs for survival, leaving his hands and feet starving for circulation; he spiked fevers and was covered in ice; his lungs collapsed 4 times and chest tubes were inserted; and he developed secondary infections that are common in hospital environments.  He had a 1% chance of surviving.  The doctors and nursing staff had to always remain 3 steps ahead of any potential disasters because to enter his room took about 15 minutes for them to gear up in their hazmat attire.  Gregg knocked on death's door, but said "F#$% NO!  I'm not coming in!!!

Throughout this time his "village" prayed for him, toasted him nightly with tequila- his favorite, meditated, danced and supported him in unmeasurable ways.  His care team at the hospital- an incredible group of smart, talented, caring individuals- did everything in their power to bring him through.  THANK YOU seems inadequate a word to express the gratitude that Gregg and his family feel for all of you.

 Gregg moved to acute rehab on April 24 (hospital day 50) and now begins the very long process of rebuilding his body.  He's relearning how to walk, perform daily activities, and rebuilding his strength so that he can head back home to AJ, Bear, family and friends. 

 Until now we have focused our communications on Gregg living and surviving this deadly virus and did not share the severity of injury to his hands and toes.  The sustained lack of circulation to his extremities caused his fingers and toes to turn black, similar to a frostbite injury.  This caused permanent damage and unfortunately once he is released from acute rehab, he will be looking at additional surgeries for amputation, prostheses and of course more physical/occupational therapy as he learns to navigate this new world. 

For someone as active as Gregg, this of course is life-changing, but with the right doctors, equipment and support, we know he will tackle this next challenge- AND he will be back skiing, enjoying tequila, and causing his usual raucous-  thanks to your generosity and spirit!  In the meantime, he'll need upgrades in his house to accommodate his new hands and help facilitate movement.  He'll also need 24-hour assistance in the beginning. I know we are all struggling during this time, but these home renovations, doctors' bills, etc. add up, so any additional financial support to ease the future financial strain is more than greatly appreciated.
  • Julie Rudy
    • $20 
    • 17 mos
  • Kathryn Yancey
    • $25 
    • 20 mos
  • Norene Cantella
    • $25 
    • 23 mos
    • $500 
    • 24 mos
  • Howard Cohen
    • $25 
    • 27 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Stephanie Garfield Bruno
Los Altos, CA
Gregg Garfield

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