Physician documents COVID-19 experiences on social media

By Connie Swinney
Staff Writer

When Dr. Horis Stedman discovered he tested positive for the coronavirus on April 24, he decided to keep an open line of communication with the public about his personal experiences with COVID-19.

“It was going to get out that I have it,” he said in an interview on April 27 with The Highlander. “If everyone is going to know I might as well lay it on the line.”

Stedman practices medicine at the Family Wellness Center, 2300 North U.S. 281, in Marble Falls. As soon as he tested positive, he entered into a self-quarantine period, concentrated on getting better and turned his attention to recounting his experience in real time.

“It may help allay fears a little bit, and just being up front with it, being that I'm in the medical field,” he said. “I just figured it would be helpful for people.”

To that end, he launched a social media campaign with a timeline and detailed account of his bout with the virus. (See timeline on page 6).

In his newspaper interview, he offered more perspective and details on his experience leading up to his eventual test and diagnosis.

“On Friday (April 24), it appeared to be classic allergies – a runny nose, sneezing. I took an antihistamine about 1:30 in the afternoon and it kind of dried up,” he said. “After dinner I felt a chill and started a dry cough and my temperature was 100.3.”

The symptoms mimicked his prior experiences with another type of virus.

“If it hadn't been for the coronavirus, I would have thought it was a type B flu – achy, fever, cough,” he said. “Type B is milder. It goes around every year,” he said. “Type A is more severe. We take vaccines for it for all the time.”

As his attempts to quell his symptoms began to fail him, he took the next step.

“I called and talked to the doctor. I went up to the ER so he could test,” Stedman said. “He went ahead and sent it (the test sample) over to Austin stat … so it's a little bit faster.”

Within a matter of a few hours, he received the results and started treatment.

“I have taken some hydroxychloroquine (five-day treatment). There's also some anti-fungal (medication) that I've taken. I have taken ivermectin, which showed promise in vitro (two-day treatment).”

In April 2020, researchers began experimenting with ivermectin, typically used to fight parasitic infections, by introducing it into cells and then infecting the cells with COVID-19. Results showed that the drug could kill the virus within 48 hours.

“It's something I did based on the data I've seen. There's a lot of thought and talk about it, but there's really no studies,” he said. “There's no good solid science.

“It's all experimental. There have been a lot of people trying it in hospital settings,” he added. “Some people get good results and others get no results.”

While in the midst of treatment, Stedman has maintained constant communication with his staff, patients and others who have may express concerns about his diagnosis.

“We're calling everyone I've seen in the last two weeks and letting them know. Seeing if they want to be tested,” he said. “We're telling patients to wait to be tested. The incubation (period) is somewhere between two to 14 days with the average being about five days.

“I had the whole staff tested in the back parking lot on Saturday (April 25),” he said.

Prior to the diagnosis, he had been seeing well patients.

“I don't know where I got the virus,” he said. “All of the patients were wearing masks as a matter of course.”

His family is also taking precautions.

“Zoe (his daughter) was tested on Saturday with the staff at my office,” he said.

While staff and loved ones await test results, public health officials including Burnet County Health Authority Dr. Juliette Madrigal have praised his approach to battling the virus.

She commended his decision to let his patients know and make the public announcement, adding that his “healthy lifestyle” should assist him in making a full recovery.

“I feel better today than I did yesterday,” Stedman said. “I'm taking some of the medicines that have shown promise.

“I want to stress that there's no scientific evidence to do this,” he added. “Not knowing what to expect, we don't have a lot of experience with this.”

As he feels better, he continues to work.

“I'm working from home, seeing patients virtually,” he said. “I'm getting a lot of people who are checking on me to see how I'm doing.

“It's kind of scary because I don't know whether it will get better or take a turn for the worse,” he added. “I don't have underlying conditions. For someone my age, I might do better than most.”

Find stories like this and comprehensive local new in Burnet Bulletin, the newspaper of record for the north end of Burnet County. To offer a news tip or comment, email Subscribe to the newspaper by calling 830-693-4367 or click here to subscribe to our e-Edition online.


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