At Cromwell Hospital’s Long Covid Clinic, a multidisciplinary team of consultants are learning lessons from the virus. Dr Brian O’Connor, a consultant in respiratory medicine, and consultant psychiatrist Dr Rajeev Dhar are part of the multidisciplinary Long Covid team at Cromwell Hospital.
“We established the clinic because, between the various consultants, we recognised we had an increasing number of mutual patients who had symptoms that didn’t add up,” he explains. “You’d have patients with psychological symptoms, such as low-grade levels of anxiety and depression, but they would also display odd physical symptoms such as palpitations or breathlessness when they lay down.”
The collaboration between consultants across the fields of respiratory medicine, cardiology, neurology and psychiatry has allowed them to pool information and recognise symptom patterns quickly.
Both Dr O’Connor and Dr Dhar believe the holistic, multidisciplinary treatment being delivered at the clinic could have a longer-term effect — one that involves a fundamental change in attitudes and perspective.
“Medicine often focuses on treating symptoms,” Dr Dhar explains, “but long Covid has made us think about how we help people to function better. Our approach is now focused on how people are functioning, because that tells us how well we’re managing the symptoms.”