The Latest on the Coronavirus Outbreak

LSU Health Shreveport chancellor shares experience with COVID-19 and advice for the community

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – LSU Health Shreveport Chancellor Doctor G.E. Ghali is recovering this week after testing positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.

He shared his experience about going from doctor to patient and his message for the community.

He said he had a bit of cough on Saturday and knew he needed to take a test when he woke up early Sunday morning with a fever of 102.

“It strikes home, the fact this virus really does not discriminate. It can attack anyone,” Dr. Ghali said.

He was treated by colleagues at Ochsner LSU Health where he received five doses of Remdesivir and one dose of convalescent plasma therapy. He said both treatments helped and he was discharged Thursday after experiencing a mild to moderate case.

“It humbles you. It’s really made me think again about the great care I got in the hospital from the nurses, from the tech, and everyone who works there. Of course the doctors. It humbles me and makes me appreciate what our folks are doing to take care of everyone in the community.”

Besides being chancellor, Dr. Ghali is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. He said he does not know how he contracted the virus, but that it is possible it came from one of his patients or maybe his young children.

“For me, I can wear a mask all the time, but when I’m examining a patient I have to take their mask off and that’s really what makes me more vulnerable,” Ghali said.

Before he came down with symptoms, Ghali had met with Governor John Bel Edwards on Thursday for a briefing. He said they took the proper measures to prevent transmission of the virus.

“We were both wearing masks. We were both socially distancing. When we passed each other and were less than six feet it was only for a few seconds. None of it would be what the CDC or the Department of Health would constitute as a close contact. I also spoke with the Office of Public Health with Dr. Billioux and he reviewed everything independently and decided neither I nor the governor were in close contact to warrant any treatment, testing, or isolation for the governor or his staff.”

He tells the community to hang in there, wear a mask correctly over your nose and mouth, and there’s hope in the medical field. The ability to treat the disease is improving as therapeutics become available.

“It’s not going to go away in the next month or two. It’s going to take a little more time and diligence on everyone’s part. But I think the best way to really kill it or snuff it out is to the improve our therapeutics, continue the hand washing, the face masks, and socially distance, and continue to strive for a vaccine that is safe and embraced by everyone nationally.”

He encourages anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma.

“For everyone out there who has recovered, donate your plasma because I think it is really helpful. It helped me and my patients in the past and I think it’s going to be important in the future.”

You can donate plasma to LifeShare Blood Center locations as it’s needed at every hospital in the region.

Doctor Ghali said he’ll continue to quarantine and recover at home before going back to work. His family is well and did not show symptoms.

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