Fear of Covid Leads Other Patients to Decline Critical Treatment

It was the call Lance Hansen, gravely ill with liver disease, had been waiting weeks for, and it came just before midnight in late April. A liver was available for him. He got up to get dressed for the three-hour drive to San Francisco for the transplant surgery.

And then he panicked.

“Within five minutes after hanging up, he started hyperventilating,” his wife, Carmen, said. “He kept saying: ‘I’m going to get Covid, and then I’m going to die. And if I die, I want my family there.’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

She promised she would wait outside the hospital, as patients’ families were barred from entering. She warned that he might not get another chance at a new liver before it was too late. She told him he could die if he didn’t go. Still, Mr. Hansen, 59, refused.

In a world seeded with anxiety, fear

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Low-Tech Way to Help Some Covid Patients: Flip Them Over

Hospitals across the country are filled with a curious sight these days: patients lying on their bellies.

Patients almost always lie on their backs, a position that helps nurses tend to them and allows them to look around if they’re awake. But for many patients, the coronavirus crisis is literally flipping the script.

The surprisingly low-tech concept, called proning, can improve breathing in patients stricken by the respiratory distress that is the hallmark of the virus, doctors have found. It draws from basic principles of physiology and gravity. Lying on one’s stomach helps open airways in lungs that have become compressed by the fluid and inflammation unleashed by the coronavirus infection.

When patients are on their backs, “the heart is now sitting on top of the lungs and compressing it even more,” said Dr. Michelle Ng Gong, chief of the divisions of critical care and pulmonary medicine at Albert Einstein

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What Is ‘Covid Toe’? Maybe a Strange Sign of Coronavirus Infection

Before the coronavirus outbreak, Dr. Lindy Fox, a dermatologist in San Francisco, used to see four or five patients a year with chilblains — painful red or purple lesions that typically emerge on fingers or toes in the winter.

Over the past few weeks, she has seen dozens.

“All of a sudden, we are inundated with toes,” said Dr. Fox, who practices at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’ve got clinics filled with people coming in with new toe lesions. And it’s not people who had chilblains before — they’ve never had anything like this.”

It’s also not the time of year for chilblains, which are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions. “Usually, we see it in the dead of winter,” Dr. Fox said.

Dr. Fox is not the only one deluged with cases. In Boston, Dr. Esther Freeman, director of

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32 Days on a Ventilator: One Covid Patient’s Fight to Breathe Again

HINGHAM, Mass. — “Is he going to make it?” Kim Bello asked, clutching her phone, alone in her yard.

She had slipped outside so her three children, playing games in the living room, could be shielded from a wrenching conversation with a doctor treating her husband, Jim. For two weeks, he had been battling the coronavirus at Massachusetts General Hospital, on a ventilator and, for the past nine days, connected to a last-resort artificial heart-lung machine as well.

The physician, Dr. Emmy Rubin, gently told Ms. Bello that while her husband had a chance of surviving, “If you’re asking for an honest opinion, it’s more likely than not that he won’t.”

Mr. Bello, 49, an athletic and healthy lawyer, had developed a 103 degree fever in early March after a hike in the White Mountains in New Hampshire and landed in a suburban emergency room six days later, struggling to

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