Personal care treatments

Cutting-edge treatments save man in four-month battle with COVID-19

TWO friends took part in the Copenhagen Marathon to thank the hospital that saved their best friend’s life after he caught COVID-19.

Brian Williams was admitted to his local hospital in July 2021 after suffering from breathing difficulties as a result of contracting COVID-19. He was transferred to St Thomas’ Hospital two months later for specialist treatment in the intensive care unit.

The 36-year-old has XLA (X-linked agammaglobulinemia), an immune system disorder that reduces the body’s ability to fight infections. Despite taking medication for the disease and the COVID-19 vaccine, Brian suffered a severe reaction to the virus.

He said:

“I have never felt as hard as I have. I literally couldn’t move and after 10 days my breathing was really bad and I was scared to go to bed. I never really appreciated how hard it was. was serious.

Once in St Thomas’ Hospital, Brian spent nine days in a coma and 47 days on an ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) machine, which continuously draws blood from the body, adds oxygen and removes carbon dioxide , then returns it to the body.

The treatment provides the highest level of life support by temporarily replacing the work of the lungs or heart in patients with severe lung or heart failure, allowing their organs to heal.

Brian started to turn the page after becoming one of the first patients in the UK to receive Ronapreve, a monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19.

Brian, from Purley in south London, said:

“I was determined to get better, so I started learning to walk again during ECMO. I thought my best chance for recovery was to build up my strength and use my lungs.

“I was very scared to go from intensive care to the ward because I was worried something was going wrong, but the nurses were amazing. I hadn’t been out for three months so one of them even rolled my bed beside the Thames.

Four months after falling ill and suffering from sepsis, pneumonia, cardiac arrest, two collapsed lungs and a severe pulmonary embolism, Brian defied the odds and returned home.

He said:

“If I’m still here today, it’s because of the incredible staff and exceptional care I received. I owe everything to the nurses, doctors and therapists and I feel extremely lucky to have received an ECMO treatment which undoubtedly saved my life.

“The staff supported me physically and psychologically and were there to chat at 3am when I couldn’t sleep – without them it would have been impossible. I’ve seen what they go through for a 12 hour shift and then they go home and come back to do it all over again. They saved my life and nothing will ever match what they did for me, but I want to try to give something back in every way possible.

Brian’s best friends Lloyd McMillan and Matthew Lloyd took part in the Copenhagen Marathon on Sunday May 15 to raise money for Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity. They hit their targets – under four hours for Lloyd and an incredible under three hours for Matthew.

Matthew, 34, from Battersea in south London, said:

“Such was the severity of Brian’s condition, if he hadn’t received the best possible care he wouldn’t be here today – it was amazing to see the commitment and relentless energy of everyone those who cared for him.

“The staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’, and the amazing technology we are blessed to have access to in the UK, saved our friend’s life. We know that whatever we collect can and will help save someone else.

The trio met while working in Dubai around seven years ago and Brian was to be an usher at Lloyd’s wedding.

Lloyd, 33, from Battersea in south London, said:

“When Brian caught COVID-19 his condition deteriorated relatively quickly and we were all becoming increasingly concerned which was around the same time as my marriage. It was a shock to see how sick he was, he didn’t look like the Brian who went to the hospital.

“It’s very clear that Brian is still here because of St Thomas, so it was a no-brainer to try to give something back to make sure the next person can leave hospital like him.”

Brian said:

“I’ve had a really bad four months but that’s not going to define me. I’m honored that Lloyd and Matt have chosen to raise money for Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity.

Dr Dan Taylor, critical care and ECMO consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’, helped treat Brian. He said:

“Brian made a remarkable recovery and it is to his credit and motivation that he has done so well. Walking a patient on ECMO to rehabilitate is quite unusual and required a lot of mental power and skill. strength to do so.

“Brian had the best therapy available to him at the time and was the first patient at St Thomas’ Hospital to receive the drug Ronapreve upon approval, which was particularly important for his underlying immune status. This is quite amazing what Brian and his friends are doing for Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity and we are extremely grateful.

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