A patient in intensive care who says she was “nearly killed” by coronavirus has issued a desperate plea for people to stay home and follow the government guidance.
Helen Whatmore was admitted to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant on December 7 after developing coronavirus symptoms and remains in intensive care over a month later.
In a harrowing video from her intensive care bed, the 45-year-old from Beddau she said she had been unwell in February so assumed she had already caught the virus.
However, she explained her experience this time was far worse than the illness she felt in Feburary.
“I honestly didn’t believe it was as bad until I caught it this time,” she said.
“This time it’s absolutely knocked the socks off me. It’s nearly killed me.”
She added: “A friend of mine passed away as I came into hospital and I came down very rapidly with Covid, kidney problems and pneumonia.”
Helen also urged people to follow the current lockdown rules to help relieve pressure on the NHS which is currently using 140% of its critical care capacity.
She said she was grateful for the care she had received and added: “The nurses are coming in [working] all shifts, they’re fighting for your loved ones, from the time they enter right until the time they leave, then they’re changing over and doing the same again.
“People are passing away. How much more have they got to do? We’re asking them to protect our children and our families. Why are we not protecting them ourselves? Saving our families and our own children.”
There are currently more patients in Welsh hospitals being treated for coronavirus than any other point since the pandemic began.
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The Royal Glamorgan Hospital is in the region hardest hit by coronavirus. Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board, which runs the hospital, has reported 1,091 deaths of patients with coronavirus.
A nurse working in a the hospital says she felt ‘overwhelming fear’ as 13 ambulances queued up outside its A&E department.
Senior A&E nurse Sarah Fogarasy told BBC Wales the situation at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, where there was no capacity at the unit, had left her wanting “to leave”. And senior doctor Amanda Farrow described the pressure at the RCT hospital last Saturday as “unrelenting”.
Ms Fogarasy told BBC Wales : “And then it got to 13 patients outside – I had no capacity in this unit, no resuscitation capacity, no capacity to put a patient on CPAP [continuous positive airway pressure] should they require that and no physical areas to put a patient in. It was overwhelming.
“This bit makes me quite emotional. For the first time I was sat trying to coordinate this department and I had that overwhelming fear that I just wanted to leave. I was just ‘I’m done. I’m done with this’.
“And it’s scary, it fills you full of fear when you have got 13 ambulances outside, queuing around the car park. Where do you go from that?”
The senior nurse said it was the example of her team that inspired her to keep going.
“I started looking around to all the staff working tirelessly and just trying to remember what we’re here for and why I became a nurse,” she said.
“I know it sounds soppy but it’s literally the humanitarian effort that has gone into [fighting] this pandemic that has kept people going. It’s the sheer determination and guts of the staff working in these times that is so powerful, that keeps the shift going.”