Family reflect on sister’s Covid-19 Journey

(Pictured left to right: Julie, Deborah, their mother, Deborah's daughter Jessica)

Here is Julie’s story

“The past few months have been something I never thought me or my family would ever have to experience. My sister Deborah came down with Covid-19 in late December. What started with shortness of breath and a cough, very quickly turned serious and her health rapidly declined.

Deborah tells me she recalls the horrifying moment she was told she would have to be put on a ventilator imminently, she was terrified. A nurse took her hand, introduced themselves and was as reassuring as possible. Deborah said the hand hold was a literal lifeline to her in that moment and something she will always remember. They made sure to take the time to comfort her under what must have been immense time constraints. As her sister I can’t thank the staff member enough for being there for her when her family could not.

After this, our days were consumed with thinking of Deborah and anxious to know how she was doing. The Family Liaison team were amazing and provided as many updates as they could despite being incredibly busy. These calls were are only connection to Deborah, we felt so far away from her and it was torture not being able to visit her and hold her hand. With our adrenaline and anxiety running high, the family decided to throw ourselves into making care packages for the staff looking after Deborah as our way to say thank you and keep us busy. We gathered chocolates, hand cream, tea and coffee – anything to make their lives a little easier.

Then Deborah took a very bad turn and sadly doctors thought she didn’t have long left. We were told it was time to consider withdrawing treatments, we couldn’t believe it. Deborah’s doctor advised we say our goodbyes in case their last treatment option didn’t work. It all felt surreal, this could not be happening!  I understood the doctors wanted to make sure we had no regrets but we did not want to say goodbye.
The team performed the unimaginable. They pulled out all the stops, trying last ditch attempts of steroids, antibiotics and dialysis and miraculously she began to improve ever so slightly. We clung to any positives, as long as she wasn’t getting any worse we had hope.

Deborah is still continuing to recover, I am not a religious person but this truly was a miracle. We feel so blessed our beloved Deborah is still with us and we will forever be in the critical care staffs’ debt. Our thanks also go to our incredible family and friends who kept Deborah in their thoughts, prayed for her recovery and we believe it made all the difference.”

Charlotte Schofield, Director of Fundraising at UHB Charity, said: “We are so pleased to hear Deborah is recovering on a non-Covid ward and we wish her all the best.  In an outstanding act of generosity, the family have chosen to donate a staggering £36,000 to help staff on critical care in the months ahead as they continue to fight on the frontlines and save more people like Deborah.  We are blown away by the family’s kindness and drive to give back to the hospital which cared for Deborah during the very worst of times.  This generous donation will make a large and long lasting difference to staff and patients at the QE.

If you would like to dedicate a message to any staff in UHB Trust, you can do so here.

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