Orthopedic surgeon returns to work after recovering from COVID-19

Angie Stewart -   Print  |

Scott Smith, MD, a 54-year-old orthopedic surgeon, returned to work at Texas Orthopedics days after being discharged from a hospital for intensive COVID-19 treatment, according to local news outlets.

The Austin American-Statesman and ABC affiliate KVUE-TV recounted Dr. Smith's experience.

Dr. Smith noticed a minor headache March 20, but he began experiencing cold- and flu-like symptoms within a day. Two days after the initial headache, Dr. Smith — who by then felt like he'd been hit by a truck, he said — got tested for COVID-19. His results came back positive March 23.

After about a week of at-home isolation, he was experiencing a high fever, abdominal pain and trouble breathing, so he sought treatment at St. David's Georgetown (Texas) Hospital. Five days later, he transferred to Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, which had a larger ICU and machinery for providing oxygen to the blood.

There were times Dr. Smith thought he wouldn't recover, he told reporters. But slowly, he regained his ability to breathe with less oxygen support. He returned home April 5, having lost 19 pounds.

Dr. Smith has since tested negative for the coronavirus and positive for the antibodies against it.

Wearing a mask, he worked a half day at Texas Orthopedics' Round Rock location April 15. Texas Orthopedics has seven other locations in Austin, Cedar Park, Lakeway, Kyle and Marble Falls.

As of April 16, when the Statesman published its report, Dr. Smith hadn't had a fever in at least 14 days. Considered a "germaphobe" by his wife and four children, Dr. Smith is unsure where or how he contracted the virus.

"Every day is a gift. You know, when this happened to me, I went 15 days without seeing my wife or my children. And I just think people need to respect this illness," Dr. Smith told KVUE-TV. "I'm very healthy, have no medical problems, and it almost killed me."

More articles on orthopedics:
COVID-19 eases telemedicine's shackles, expansion looks bright for orthopedics
Life Spine, Northern Light Health & more: 5 spine, orthopedic partnerships in the past month
Spinal robotics market to hit $320M by 2026: 3 updates 

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