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‘I am so glad to be alive’

29/06/2020

A 77-year-old patient who spent 77 days in intensive care with COVID-19 at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has praised the staff who cared for her as she continues her "remarkable" recovery.

Jenny Eadon spent 11 weeks on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford after developing COVID-19 symptoms and receiving initial treatment at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury.

On a ventilator and in a sedation coma for nearly eight weeks, she battled severe complications as a result of COVID-19, including kidney failure, heart issues, pulmonary embolism, a stroke, and looked to have a very poor neurological prognosis.

At one point she was given a 20 per cent chance of surviving the next 72 hours.

Thankfully, under the care of the multidisciplinary ICU team, Jenny's condition improved day-to-day and she was successfully discharged from the ICU to a rehabilitation ward. She has since moved to Abingdon Community Hospital, which is run by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, to continue her recovery. She hopes to return home soon.

After 2.5 months, Jenny, a professional artist who lives in a village near Banbury, left the ICU to an emotional 'clap out' by many of the staff who had cared for her.

She said: "I am so glad to be alive. I know I have a lot of rehabilitation ahead of me but I am very determined to build my strength and get better.

"I want to say a huge thank you to all of those who have cared for me and helped me as I continue on my road to recovery. They are so brave and dedicated to do what they do, and I would give them all a hug if I could.

"The care I have received has been fantastic, so caring, and sensitive. I was very touched by the 'clap out' by staff – it was very emotional.

"I’m looking forward to getting home and to eventually see our family beyond the current FaceTime calls, spend time in the garden, and get back in my studio."

Improving faster than expected, Jenny is now on basic oxygen support and has some minor weakness on her right side, although she is now walking, a little further each day.

Neurologically, Jenny has regained her hearing and vision and, with the help of a speech and language therapist, her speech has made a dramatic improvement.

She also has full memory, lucidity and cognitive skills, and is in good spirits.

John Melrose, Jenny’s husband, said: "As far as I can tell, this is currently one of, if not the, most remarkable COVID-19 recovery stories in the UK.

"What staff did and are doing for Jenny is beyond words. We are so grateful for their high skill, pulling her back from death's door on several occasions and keeping me fully informed throughout.

"She has a long way to full recovery – but she is already fully Jenny.

"OUH should be proud and the team has done a fantastic job. This outcome is a great tribute to the John Radcliffe Hospital’s ICU team and her consultants. A strong bond was built between the staff and Jenny."

Having initially been admitted to hospital on 22 March, Jenny has been in hospital for more than three months (as of Monday 29 June).

John Griffiths, an Intensive Care Consultant at the Trust, was one of those to care for Jenny.

He said: "Although Jenny is still recovering in a community hospital, her recovery so far is a successful and truly remarkable one.

"Jenny's journey through critical illness underlines the magnitude of compassionate care, effort and expertise that the NHS is able to provide.

"Jenny saw many but by no means all of the team who were part of her recovery, and her progress would not have been possible without the efforts of the multidisciplinary team. This includes the nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, pharmacists, dietitians and therapists, family liaison and administration teams, and cleaners.

"We could not have looked after patients like Jenny the way we have without the exceptional support of non-Intensive Care Unit teams and individuals either, such as medical students.

"In the initial stages of the pandemic, so many cross divisional departments and specialities contributed to the COVID-19 ICU team. So many people performed roles completely outside their normal clinical sphere, which was very humbling to see.

"I am so very proud to be part of this group of amazingly strong, caring team of people who have nursed with their heart and souls to make these patients better."

Meghana Pandit, Chief Medical Officer at the Trust, said: "Thanks to care of the team on the unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Jenny improved enough to move out of ICU.

"I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the magnificent staff who have been so dedicated in their care to Jenny and other patients during the pandemic.

"We wish Jenny all the best while she continues her recovery."

Pictured: Jenny Eadon

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