LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Dr. Shahinaz Soliman has been a Torrance family physician for 22 years. But in early March, she became a coronavirus patient.
She believes she may have been infected by one of her patients during a physical exam. He did not know he was infected at the time but he did tell her he had attended a birthday party in the South Bay where several guests later tested positive.
Soon, he tested positive, and so did Dr. Soliman.
“I felt helpless, I felt like a patient, and it’s a totally different feeling when you’re not coming into the room to treat someone, when you need the help from others,” Soliman said.
When her coughing got worse and the fever wouldn’t go away, Dr. Soliman was admitted to Torrance Memorial Hospital. She allowed nurses to record video to help other medical staff distinguish and identify the deep, intense, chronic COVID-19 cough.
“You’re in complete isolation,” she said. “You hear the room beside you, they got intubated, or the room beside you coded, or someone in isolation passed away by the themself. So it was quite like, there’s a lot of fear.”
Fortunately, Soliman did not have to be put on a ventilator. She responded to her treatment which included azithromycin, zinc supplements and hydroxychloroquine – an anti-malarial drug some doctors have prescribed for COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Shahinaz Soliman says she has made a full recovery. (Courtesy photos)
Soliman says hydroxychloroquine can cause side effects like liver toxicity. She said her enzyme levels went down once she stopped taking it.
“I’m very thankful to God that it worked,” she said. “I do recommend now because we don’t have other options and we don’t have enough studies.”
After nine days in the hospital and then an additional nine days at home to recover, Soliman is back on the front lines armed with first-hand knowledge of COVID-19.
“Patients have been calling and it is my responsibility to help them as well. I felt it was my duty and I feel like I was ready to go and I can help,” she said.
Soliman says she’s concerned about the long-term effects of COVID-19 in our systems and hopes there will be more research conducted to identify and track any potential chronic problems.