At Yale’s Long COVID Clinic, Lisa Sanders Is Trying It All

Long-COVID patients, generally speaking, have been very miserable for a very long time, and because the illness attacks their brains, their hearts, their lungs, their guts, their joints — sometimes simultaneously, sometimes intermittently, and sometimes in a chain reaction — they bounce from specialist to specialist, none of whom has the bandwidth to hear their whole frustrating ordeal together with the expertise to address all of their complaints: the nonspecific pain, the perpetual exhaustion, the bewildering test results, the one-off treatments. “These are people who have not been able to tell their story to anybody but their spouse and their mom — for years sometimes,” Sanders tells me. “And they are, in some ways, every doctor’s worst nightmare.” From the perspective of a time-pressed physician under ever-more-stringent productivity expectations, who has at most 30 minutes to do a new-patient intake and 15 for a follow-up, “someone who comes in with a very long story — it just sinks your day,” Sanders says.