Life support

39-year-old man survives COVID after wife ‘begged’ not to turn off resuscitation

A 39-year-old man has opened up about his COVID-19 survival after his wife decided not to turn off his life support device while on the brink of death.

Adam Banks, from the UK, was put on a ventilator days after being admitted to hospital after catching COVID-19 in January, Teesside Live reported. His wife Marie said at the time that she thought he might be given oxygen at the hospital and sent home.

“I never imagined it would turn out like this,” she said.

Her husband was hospitalized for three months and was in a coma for five weeks during that time.

Banks said his lungs collapsed by about 90% and his wife and the mother of their two teenage children were given the option to turn off his breathing assistance.

“She refused and begged them to come up with another option,” Banks said.

It was decided that Banks would be transferred to another hospital and connected to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine.

ECMO and ventilators are two types of life support devices, but ECMO is a more advanced form. A ventilator can help or control a person’s breathing, while an ECMO removes oxygen and replaces blood in the body so that the heart and lungs can rest.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people should be vigilant for the warning signs of severe COVID-19, in which case a person should see a doctor immediately. These are: having difficulty breathing; feel persistent pain or pressure in the chest; feeling newly confused; not being able to wake up or stay awake; and skin, lips or nails that have turned pale, gray or blue depending on the person’s complexion.

Some people are at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19, which may require hospital treatment, including intensive care with a ventilator.

These include adults aged 65 or older and those with underlying health conditions. However, healthy people can also become seriously ill and even die from the coronavirus.

Banks said he was paralyzed from neck to toe after being removed from the ECMO machine.

“I hadn’t eaten in two and a half months and my voice mail had collapsed from the treatment, so I spent about two weeks in intensive care to regain my strength and learn to walk.”

Banks was released on April 19 and didn’t stop using oxygen until a few weeks ago. He also had to relearn how to swallow and how to speak.

Doctors have told him it could take him around 18 months to feel better, and he still struggles with everyday tasks such as opening bottles.

Banks and his wife, who also caught COVID-19 when he fell ill, have been vaccinated. He said it made him feel “much more protected” from the disease.

A stock image shows a patient with his hand held in a hospital. Adam Banks spent three months in the hospital with COVID.
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