By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia doctor is getting a lot of attention for a post on Facebook warning people they need to take the coronavirus more seriously and take precautions. Dr. Kimberly Heckert helps COVID-19 patients put their lives back together at Jefferson Hospital Rehabilitation Medicine.

“The effects can be absolutely devastating,” Heckert said.

Heckert feels the warnings aren’t being taken seriously, and that’s why she turned to Facebook.

“I never imagined it would become so popular,” Heckert said.

A post to friends warned about the virus being life-altering, urging them to not let their guard down.

“We get just one body and one life and it shouldn’t be gambled,” Heckert said.

“This is for real. This virus is no joke,” 54-year-old Gregg Garfield, a COVID-19 patient, said.

Garfield lost several fingers after being hospitalized with COVID-19 for months, and 27-year-old Lyndsay Gough lost her appendix and part of her colon because of COVID-19.

“I felt really sick, probably the sickest I’d ever been,” Gough said.

Doctors are now learning COVID-19 can cause a variety of complications, many long-lasting.

“Even with a mild course, there can be repercussions,” Heckert said.

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Heckert is surprised her Facebook post has been shared by thousands, and she’s hoping her warning is taken seriously. She says being on the frontlines of the pandemic is devastating, not only for patients.

“There are days I was very sad,” Heckert said. “There were days going back to care for these patients felt traumatizing.”

But knowing she’s helping so many patients gives her inspiration every day.

“If I can offer them hope its a privilege to do that,” Heckert said.

There’s expected to be a growing number of patients depending on her and doctors everywhere.

Stephanie Stahl