After Being Discharged From ICU, Filipino Engineer Dies of ‘Long Covid’ 3 Months Later
A UK-based Filipino aerospace engineer has passed away from “long Covid” after initially fighting off the viral disease just three months ago.
The patient in question, Roehl Ribaya, survived a 60-day battle against COVID-19 in the intensive care unit of Blackpool Victoria Hospital in Lancashire, U.K., where he spent 45 days on a ventilator. After being applauded for his recovery as the last Covid patient to leave the hospital, Ribaya returned home in hopes of putting this chapter behind him.
However, Covid has proven itself to be a resilient disease, causing what is being called by some as “long Covid,” a catch-all term for the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the human body.
Ribaya is believed to be one of the victims of this “long Covid,” according to his friends and family.
Just three months after being discharged, Ribaya suffered from cardiac arrest on October 13. Despite CPR efforts from his wife, now widow, nurse Stella Ricio-Ribaya, Roehl fell into a coma and died two days later on October 15.
In an interview with the BBC, Ricio-Ribaya said that he had never truly recovered from his struggle with Covid: “He was never the same. He was so breathless all the time.”
BBC also reported that a family friend, Mark Delabajan, concurred, adding that “he couldn’t get up the stairs,” and was “rushed back into hospital a number of times.”
He was only 47 years old.
What is ‘Long Covid’?
Ribaya’s case is not an isolated incident. While not all have led to deaths, instances of “long Covid” have affected many patients who have survived serious bouts of the disease. In the U.K., the term “long Covid” was coined by COVID-19 survivors on social media who discovered that many were also experiencing post-Covid symptoms despite no longer having the virus.
Doctors and scientists are still researching what “long Covid” does to the body, and how it can be treated. Until there is more research into “long Covid,” doctors are opting to use the phrases “ongoing COVID-19” and “living with COVID-19.”
While most only have a mild version of the COVID-19 virus, some have overcome serious cases of the disease, which has caused a detrimental effect on their health. These lasting effects including crippling fatigue, persistent pain, long-term breathlessness, chest pain, and in serious cases, damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and gut.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 87 percent of discharged patients surveyed from one hospital still had symptoms two months after being released. Meanwhile, 50 percent of participants in an Irish study still experienced fatigue 10 weeks after initial infection, and a third were unable to return to work.
But what’s more worrying is that “long Covid” does not seem to be reserved for serious cases of the virus. Some patients are experiencing long-term infects despite having only mild cases of COVID-19, according to the National lnstitute for Health Research.
However, the overall consensus is concrete: COVID-19 is not just a flu, and the long-term effects are indeed a cause for concern.