CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- COVID-19 nearly killed one local doctor and now he's describing the long road to recovery he has ahead of him.
Dr. Nadeem Qureshi is healing while other physicians are talking about the long-term impacts of coronavirus on the human body.
Dr. Qureshi beat the odds and he doesn't know exactly where he contracted the illness, but he does know it nearly killed him.
“I told my wife this is a profound weakness, I've never experienced before,” said Dr. Qureshi.
After returning to St. Louis in late March after teaching a course overseas, Cardinal Glennon physician, Dr. Qureshi, was diagnosed with coronavirus.
“I remember on the 26th of March I really felt that day so weak and dehydrated. This is the day I need to go to the hospital,” Qureshi remembered.
Within hours of arriving at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the 55-year-old doctor's condition got worse.
“They decided to intubate me, six hours later after I went to the hospital. I was on a ventilator for 21 days,” Qureshi said.
Otherwise healthy, Qureshi says he didn't have any pre-existing health conditions. “I don't have any hypertension, I don't have diabetes, I've never been to the hospital except for work. I've never been admitted, I’ve never had surgery," Qureshi said.
SLUCare physician Dr. Michael Lim says society needs to respect the virus and understand its effects including long term impacts that can be significant even after recovery.
"There's an issue of how long COVID-19 can last in somebody and long lasting effects are beginning to understand there is some lung damage that can be irreversible," said Dr. Lim.
After 40 days in the hospital, Qureshi has been doing rehab almost every day and is eager to get back to work.
He's lucky he can talk about it, despite having no memory of his time on the ventilator. “I didn't have any idea of the concept of time at that time. I did not know what happened to me,” Qureshi said.
Dr. Lim told News 4 the only real precautions at this point are social distancing and wearing a mask.
Qureshi, who's also a doctor, believes wearing a mask will protect you even if people around you don't.
He said it reduces what he calls the viral overload or what you might breathe in if you are around someone who's not wearing a mask.