Cedars-Sinai Blog

How COVID-19 Landed a Young, Healthy Doctor in the Hospital

Dr. Ross Grant has enjoyed a healthy and active life. Hardly ever sick, he does intensive workouts each week, plays guitar in a band during his free time and even hiked to the Mt. Everest base camp in Nepal.

Even though the 41-year-old hospitalist spends his days treating patients at Cedars-Sinai, he had never been admitted to a hospital himself.

"I've been inspired by how hard everyone has been working in such a dynamic environment. We are all in this together." 

But that changed when he tested positive for COVID-19 and developed a severe pneumonia that landed him at his own hospital for three days.

"It was way worse than any flu or cold I've ever had and just leveled me in terms of energy," Dr. Grant says. "It affects everybody differently, but I've never had such bad aches, back pain and headaches, and high fevers that made me almost delirious."

He hopes his story serves as a cautionary tale for younger people who may not be taking the pandemic seriously.

"Anybody can get this virus, and anybody can get very sick from it," Dr. Grant says. "Social distancing is the best thing you can do at this point to prevent yourself from getting sick or spreading this illness to others."

First signs of symptoms

Grant was on a ski trip in Wyoming with his best friend on March 8 when he noticed his first symptom—a mild, dry cough. By the time he returned home to Los Angeles a few days later, he had developed severe fatigue, chills, a headache and a fever.

He got tested and isolated himself at home while waiting for the results. He treated his symptoms with acetaminophen, fluids and lots of rest. 

"Like a lot of younger people, I thought I was fine and this was no big deal," Dr. Grant says.

By the time Dr. Grant received his positive test results, his fever and aches worsened, and he became short of breath. He went to urgent care on March 18, where an X-ray revealed a rapidly developing case of pneumonia. It's hard to know for certain how he got the virus: at work, while traveling or somewhere else.

Because he was in the second week of his illness, when complications tend to emerge, Dr. Grant's physician sent him to Cedars-Sinai so his pneumonia and severe symptoms could be monitored more closely.

"That was pretty shocking to me," Dr. Grant says. "I was surprised to have pneumonia and to be told I needed to go to the hospital right away."

Admitted to the hospital

"I'd felt vulnerable and scared when I was at home, and my condition was changing so quickly," Dr. Grant added. "Once I was settled in the hospital, I felt much safer. I wasn't alone anymore."

From his room at the medical center, he witnessed through the eyes of a patient all the changes that had been made in the weeks since he'd been gone. Anyone entering his room had to don a protective gown, mask, gloves and a face shield or goggles. 

"Every little thing they did was time-consuming for them—bringing me my meals, cleaning the room and checking my vitals," Dr. Grant says. "It was amazing to see how it was all coordinated and the teamwork behind it. You don't always notice that as a doctor."

Back at work

Dr. Grant rapidly improved, returning home on March 21. Upon discharge he was told to wait at least 14 days from the onset of his symptoms, and at least 72 hours after his fever resolved, before going out in public. A few days later, the health department cleared him to go back to work.

When Dr. Grant returned to the hospital on March 31—this time in his usual role as a doctor—he volunteered to treat other COVID-19 patients. It's possible that he is now immune to the virus, and he wanted to contribute where help is needed most. 

"I've been inspired by how hard everyone has been working in such a dynamic environment," he says. "We are all in this together."