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Local doctor discusses lingering effects of Covid-19

Posted at 7:25 AM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 10:28:50-04

BAKERSFIELD, CA.  — As more research becomes available, hospitals and rehabilitation centers are noticing Covid-19 patients experiencing health consequences even after they’ve recovered from the virus.

“Because the emphasis during hospitalization is on saving lives what we are seeing is that at times these other types of injuries like a brain injury, subtle cognitive impairments, swallowing problems, or speech problems aren't being identified until a more thorough evaluation looking to address these issues is taken," said Dr. Matt Ashley, Centre of Neuro Skills.

The Centre of Neuro Skills in Bakersfield focuses on helping patients recover from post-traumatic injury in order to help them get back to living on their own.

“We are seeing these patients starting to come through on the tail end of their hospitalization and their recovery and this subset of people is just another group we are glad to help," said Dr. Matt Ashley.

The American Speech Language and Hearing Association reported in July that Covid-19 patients who have spent time on a ventilator may experience communication challenges, swallowing disorders, and cognitive problems even after recovering from the virus.

“Some people who have Covid suffer a neurological injury as a result and they can have speech problems that requires therapy or if they have had prolonged ICU courses or intubation that can cause mechanical problems in their airways," said Dr. Matt Ashley.

According to Dr. Matt Ashley, there is no set time on a ventilator that would cause or prevent these post-traumatic injuries from happening.

“There's a subset of people that are experiencing other problems that are related to covid such as stroke, respiratory failure, cardio-pulmonary arrest, can suffer injury to the brain from a lack of blood flow and that is called hypoxic or anoxic brain injury.. Those call all require speech therapy," said Dr. Matt Ashley.