Covid-19 victim conscious and speaking after 58 days on a ventilator

Covid-19 victim conscious and speaking after 58 days on a ventilator

May 17, 2020

Female covid-19 victim, 35, is conscious and speaking after surviving a record 58 days on a ventilator in intensive care

  • The female patient is at Southampton General Hospital and is still supported by a ventilator
  • Dr Sanjay Gupta said she faces a long recovery as she ‘has virtually no muscle strength left’
  • Some of those who spend many weeks in intensive care have to be taught to walk again 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A coronavirus patient who spent a record 58 days on a ventilator is conscious and speaking for the first time since being admitted to intensive care. 

The female patient, 35, is at Southampton General Hospital and is still supported by a ventilator although is not reliant on one.

The hospital’s lead consultant for critical care Dr Sanjay Gupta said the patient still faces a long way to go before recovery and a prolonged period of rehab, The Sunday Times reported. 

Southampton General Hospital’s lead consultant for critical care Dr Sanjay Gupta said the patient has virtually no muscle strength left

He added: ‘She has virtually no muscle strength left – barely enough to breathe. If you’re on a ventilator or in intensive care, your skeletal muscles decondition.’ 

He added that the longer a patient spends on a ventilator, other problems – such as a weakened diaphragm – start to emerge. 

Generally the sickest patients face the longest recovery and some of those who spend weeks in intensive care have to be taught to walk and breathe again.  

It comes after several studies calculated the mortality rate of patients on ventilators could be as high as 90 per cent. 

Some researchers said some studies only included those who had died or left hospital and excluded those who were still in intensive care. 

Professor Colin Cooke of Michigan University’s pulmonary and critical care division said: ‘It is always disheartening to know that some people are out there saying if you end up on a ventilator it’s a death sentence.’ 

It comes after several studies calculated the mortality rate of patients on ventilators could be as high as 90 per cent (file photo) 

The female patient, 35, is at Southampton General Hospital and is still supported by a ventilator although is not reliant on one

A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association examined the health records of 5,700 patients hospitalised with the virus at Northwell Health, New York. 

The final outcomes were know for 2,634 patients.  

It found that roughly 20 per cent of coronavirus patients died but for patients placed on ventilators, 88 per cent died.  

Another study on a sample of 6,720 critically-ill coronavirus patients by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) found that just under two thirds of patients requiring ventilation died.   

Professor Cooke added that that’s not what we’re experiencing and he doesn’t think the data is showing that.  

In the UK there are 10,484 people in hospital with coronavirus and 20 per cent of critical care beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients.   

Ventilators pump oxygen under pressure directly into the lungs via a tube inserted down the throat

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