Complicated COVID-19 case shares near death experience

—Serves as a warning for persons to adhere to guidelines

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, July 1, 2020

As COVID-19 confirmed cases continue to increase, the Ministry of Public Health is exploring avenues to teach Guyanese of the harmful effects of the virus on the human body.

On Wednesday, Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) Dr. Karen Gordon-Boyle shared the near-death experience of a person (only name given Natalie) who tested positive for the coronavirus in Guyana.

She shared that Natalie initially experienced symptoms of sleepiness, exhaustion, pain in the legs and a cough that was not necessarily persistent. Over time the signs progressed to chills, fever, severe headaches, loss of appetite, profuse sweating and vomiting.

Given the fact that she is asthmatic difficulty breathing was one of the prolonged symptoms, Natalie suffered eventually.

Dr. Gordon-Boyle relayed that Natalie recalled thinking she could “ride out” the symptoms at home. “Within a few days I was slipping in and out of consciousness and I have vague recollections of my 15-year-old son telling me he’d called 911 for me,” Natalie said.

When the EMTs arrived, Natalie remembers the ambulance driver saying: “She’s very poorly, we need to bring her in” before putting an oxygen mask on her and taking her to the vehicle.”

After this, she would have tested positive for COVID-19 and recounted that her family members could not assist her since they had to focus on limiting their exposure to her and protecting themselves.

While in isolation, the doctors and other personnel who attended to Natalie kept her informed of her health condition.

“I remember another nurse coming over and telling me: “Just to let you know, your X-Ray results have come back – you’ve got pneumonia in the lungs and you’ll have to be on oxygen 24/7.”…. They told me it was pneumonia attacking my lungs and they gave me a shot of morphine”

Natalie also recalled the awful stabbing pains in her stomach, that left her almost delirious by time it had subsided.

Dr Gordon-Boyle explained that the Ministry chose to share Natalie’s experience to serve as a cautionary tale to others who continually ignore the health guidelines that have been implemented.

The DCMO warned, “the full effect of COVID-19 on the human body is not entirely known; you can recover from the Coronavirus disease but may develop other conditions that you previously did not have, which can result in possible death. So, let us follow the guidelines.”

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COVID-19 Alert!

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.