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California man recovers from coronavirus, most fingers amputated

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One California man will undergo reconstructive surgery after most of his fingers were amputated during a two-month hospital stay for coronavirus.

Gregg Garfield, 54, only had a 1 percent chance of surviving – but he managed to beat the odds and was released from the hospital in early May.

“I’m doing fantastic, however, my hands – never going to be the same. I don’t have fingers anymore,” Garfield told KTLA. “This can happen to you.”

All of his fingers on his right hand were amputated, as well as most fingers on his left, according to the outlet.

“COVID has effects on the endovascular bloodstream, so it actually affects the blood flow,” Dr. David Kulber, a plastic surgeon of Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told KTLA. “That’s why some young people have had strokes, and that’s why anticoagulation — putting patients on blood thinners — now has been a standard cure for COVID patients.”

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Garfield was in the hospital for 64 days and spent 31 of them on a ventilator, according to Record Searchlight. He was also reportedly considered "patient zero" at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, which is only about 10 miles north of Los Angeles.

Garfield was hospitalized after a February trip to Italy, which was once a global hotspot for the pandemic, Searchlight reported. Italy now ranks 15th globally for confirmed coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“Medically speaking, I should not be here,” Garfield said.

“From MRSA, to sepsis, to kidney failure to liver failure, I turned around with 100 percent capacity on everything from my kidneys, my liver, my cognitive,” he said. “I mean I’m here today to stand tall. The only challenge that I have physically is amputations of my fingers.”

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His hospital stay set him back around $2 million. Insurance will cover most of the costs, except for the prosthetics, the outlet reported.

Kulber said the reconstructive process will involve at least six operations, creating new fingers on the right hand, “and ultimately create fingers enough that he can put on prosthetics on the very ends, to have like a bionic hand.”

Garfield said his battle strengthened his faith, and if ski resorts are open this winter, he plans to go.

Fox News’ Nick Givas contributed to this report.

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