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'I was frightened I would die alone': Shropshire doctor reveals coronavirus battle

By Lisa O'Brien | Shrewsbury | Coronavirus | Published:

A doctor has thanked his colleagues at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital for their 'incredible' care after coronavirus left him fighting for his life.

Dr Hamza Ansari with his family

Dr Hamza Ansari works on the trauma and orthopaedic ward at RSH, only starting his training there a few months ago.

When coronavirus began to spread across the country last month, he and his team were busy working to divert non-Covid orthopaedic patients to The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, near Oswestry, for rehabilitation and operations.

After getting a fever and feeling unwell, the 38-year-old stayed at home to isolate.

But, following a week of illness with serious shortness of breath and a temperature of more than 40 degrees, he was admitted to RSH.

More Covid-19 coverage:

Dr Ansari, who also suffers from asthma, was placed on oxygen and swabbed for what was later confirmed to be coronavirus.

His condition deteriorated and he was taken to the hospital's high dependency unit (HDU) after consultants told him that he was suffering respiratory failure.

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Devastated

Dr Ansari, who lives near RSH and is originally from Canada, said: “Since I started training in surgery I’ve become very good at looking at things objectively, and I wasn’t worried at the prospect of being in HDU with coronavirus.

"I was just devastated that I might not be able to talk to my wife.

"I kept thinking about the prospect of my daughter growing up without me if I didn’t make it.

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“I am currently alone in the UK as my family have been unable to return from a vacation in Canada because of lock down.

"I knew that my health was moving in the wrong direction and I was really frightened that I would die alone in the hospital."

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Being cared for in HDU, Dr Ansari was initially unable to take in enough oxygen or get rid of carbon dioxide in his lungs.

With the virus now also affecting other organs in his body, he was given 100 per cent oxygen through a face mask, was catheterised and fed through a tube.

Slowly, and with constant care from medical staff, his lungs recovered.

Following nine days on HDU he was well enough to be discharged home.

But with no family in the UK to look after him – and now confirmed to be free of infection – his senior consultant, Lieutenant Colonel Carl Meyer, cared for him at his family home until he was well enough to continue his recovery alone.

Fighting

Dr Ansari, who trained at St Matthew's University in Grand Cayman in the Caribbean before starting at RSH as a foundation year one doctor, said: “I’m still pretty weak with tiredness and some muscle wastage, but I am feeling so much better.

“When I came to train in trauma and orthopaedic surgery at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust a few months ago, I never imagined I would be fighting Covid-19 on the frontline and I didn’t think I’d be fighting tooth and nail for my life in HDU.

"I now know what it’s like to be a patient in our hospitals and I couldn’t be happier with care I was provided.

"HDU staff, nurses, consultants were there all the time, checking me and making sure I didn’t want or need anything.

"I want to say a massive thank you as, without them, I wouldn’t have made it out alive.

"They helped me so much, everything they did was incredible.”

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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