Intensive care doctor describes his experience of coronavirus

An intensive care consultant has described how coronavirus left him sleeping for up to 18 hours per day and feeling “absolutely terrible”.

Dr David Hepburn, who works at the Royal Gwent Hospital in south Wales, posted a video online to raise awareness of the virus.

He urged people to follow the UK Government’s advice to protect people and the NHS throughout the pandemic.

His video, posed on the Twitter page of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, has been viewed more than 15,000 times.

“My name is David, I’m one of the intensive care consultants in Aneurin Bevan,” he said.

“I just wanted to share with you how I got coronavirus.

“At the moment, my team at the intensive care unit are looking after a lot of patients who are critically unwell with coronavirus.

“Some of them are younger than I am and they’re certainly not the frail, elderly people that maybe some of us have been led to believe that we would be seeing.

“They’re young, they’re fit and they have young families. As do I.

“I’d like to tell you that I got coronavirus from heroically looking after some of these patients, but actually the reality is much more mundane.

“I think I probably caught this from contact with colleagues at work or possibly somebody out in the street before any of the coronavirus patients really arrived on the intensive care unit.

“It started off very innocuously. I had a burning sensation in my nose, I lost my sense of taste, I never had a cough and then I’ve had a week of just feeling absolutely terrible.

“Aching muscles, aching bones and unable to get out of bed – sleeping 16, 18 hours a day.

“I’m on the mend now thankfully, I hope, but I can’t emphasise to you how sick this can make you.

“Please, please listen to the advice that’s going round at the minute.

“This is a small sacrifice for a short period of time and then life will go back to normal again.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>(PA Graphics)</figcaption>
(PA Graphics)

“But we have to protect everybody and we have to protect the NHS. Thanks.”

Yesterday, Public Health Wales confirmed that 248 people in the Aneurin Bevan area had tested positive for Covid-19 – more than twice the number elsewhere in Wales.

Health minister Vaughan Gething told a press conference in Cardiff on Tuesday that there was a “particular cluster” of cases in that area.

But he said it was not anticipated that it would be an “outlier” as the outbreak continued.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024