Chemo patients and other immunocompromised take precautions during COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The risks of COVID-19 continue to create a new reality for everyone, especially those who are immunocompromised.

Theeda Murphy, a well-known community activist, spoke to News 2 by Facetime. Murphy was diagnosed with breast cancer in January and is currently underground chemotherapy. She shared that her doctor has advised her to stay indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I really cannot, I cannot interact with people, my contact with other people has to be severely limited because you know it could take me out,” said Murphy

News 2 asked Vanderbilt’s breast cancer expert, Dr. Ben Ho Park if COVID-19 would be a fatal diagnosis for a chemotherapy patient.

He said, “The honest answer is we don’t know. The honest answer part two is possibly, yes. So I don’t feel like we as healthcare providers and patients in that scenario want to take that risk.”

To mitigate risks Park said he and his colleagues are rescheduling appointments, “We have a couple of patients that I’ve already identified on my schedule, that we’ve contacted and said ‘the better part of valor is to not come in, it’s just a routine check-up and we can do that at any other time.'”

Park said he’s also urging his patients to practice social isolation.

Murphy said she’s not fearful during the ongoing pandemic but she is cautious.

She attributed her strong support system as part of strength during treatments. She said friends and loved ones have brought her food and she’s entrusted a few people to walk her dog and help out with small household chores. She added that the few people she comes in contact with, take extra precautions to keep her safe.

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