Cat Cunningham reports on a man's surprising recovery from a coronavirus-caused stroke and other complications.
Photo by JC Gellidon
Doctors have studied the brain of Omar Taylor, a 31-year old-man from Essex, who has made a miraculous recovery from coronavirus, which caused him to also suffer from sepsis, pneumonia, heart failure and a double stroke.
The father of two spent six weeks in Colchester General fighting the illness, during which time his wife, Kaitlyn, was told to prepare for the worst. Omar was initially rushed to hospital with breathing difficulties, and was subsequently placed in intensive care on a ventilator for 20 days.
A Miraculous Recovery
Despite doctors’ warnings that he would never walk again, Omar miraculously strolled out of hospital back in Mayto a standing ovation from doctors and nurses. Mr Taylor has been left with a weak right hand side and limited speech, but he has been able to continue his recovery at home where he receives daily physiotherapy and speech therapy. In order to support this, friends of the family set up a fundraising page which raised over £17,000.
By studying Omar’s case, medics have been able to understand how coronavirus can affect the brain. Dr Joseph Ngeh, the stroke consultant who cared for Mr Taylor, co-authored a report on his case and hopes that it will raise awareness about the potential risk of Covid-19 patients suffering a stroke. Mr Taylor’s case was of particular interest as he is the youngest patient reported to have suffered a stroke as a result of Coronavirus.
The Impact of Covid
As a young patient with no stroke risk factors, medics considered it unusual that Mr Taylor’s brain imaging showed multiple microbleeds which suggest a Covid-19 induced cytokine storm. Doctors now know that Coronavirus can trigger an inflammatory response which could lead to a stroke, even for very young patients.
In response to his treatment, Mr Taylor said:
"I am very happy that the team of doctors were so interested in my case and I hope it can benefit doctors in the future when treating patients who are in a similar critical condition to me and save lives like they did mine."
Having suffered the most severe stroke possible, it was anticipated that Omar would need 24-hour care for years to come, but it is now hoped that with rehabilitation and therapy, Omar will be able to make a 90% recovery by the end of the year.
As the pandemic continues to cause devastating damage around the world, studies such as this have a high level of importance, as medics work to understand Coronavirus. Imagine how much more could be done if the NHS had more funding and were able to conduct similar studies on other Coronavirus survivors in order to help win the battle with Covid-19.
A specific area which would benefit for more funding is the plasma collection scheme. When your bodies fight viruses, they create antibodies to do so, and these live in the plasma – a yellowish liquid contained within the blood. If the plasma of people who have recovered from Covid-19 donate their plasma, then it can be transfused into current sufferers to help supplement that patient’s antibody supply if they aren’t creating enough themselves.
Presently, more than 130,000 people in the UK have offered to donate plasma for this reason, but only just over 25,000 samples have been collected. This may be down to the fact that only 215 hospitals across Britain are currently enrolled in the scheme; with more funding, this number could be higher, and the amount of patients benefiting from the treatment would go up. Now, more than ever, investment in the NHS is unequivocally important.
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