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NH News

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Launches Program To Help For COVID-19 'Long-Haulers'

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Allison Quantz for NHPR
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Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center has launched a program for people dealing with so-called “long-haul” COVID-19, in which symptoms persist for 12 weeks or longer.

Anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of COVID-19 patients have reported long-haul symptoms. The symptoms are wide ranging, and can include breathing troubles, body aches and brain fog.

Dr. Jeffery Parsonnet, who's leading program, sees it as filling a need in care. Why some people have long-term symptoms is still unknown, which can make treatment complicated and difficult, he said.

“As a doctor, I'm concerned that I'll disappoint people." Parsonnet said. "I'm concerned that people will come with symptoms, and I'll hear their symptoms and say, 'You know what? This is going to take time; we have no specific therapy for that.' ”

But Parsonnet also said long-haul COVID patients he's spoken to in the past have found it meaningful to have their symptoms validated and addressed. 

“So some of the things that we hope to do are to listen to patients and provide them with specialty services that might alleviate some of their symptoms,” he said.

The program will also keep track of patients, so that if new therapies become available, they can keep them informed.

The program is accepting referrals, which must come from a primary care provider.