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Dublin: 7°C Wednesday 28 October 2020

'I was told I would be in the induced coma for a few days, but I actually woke up two months later'

Martin, a healthcare worker in his 30s, was told he would be in a coma for a few days. He was in a coma for over two months.

Image: Sam Boal

A HEALTHCARE WORKER who was diagnosed with Covid-19 and spent two months in an induced coma has described the “frightening impact” and “long-lasting effects” of the disease on him. 

Jerick Martin gave an account of the 68 days he spent in ICU, the majority of that time in an induced coma, after he contracted Covid-19. He was speaking at a public health briefing alongside Acting CMO Dr Ronan Glynn this evening. 

Martin said he was speaking publicly of his ordeal in fear that members of the public did not recognise the risk the virus poses to all members of society, not just the vulnerable and the elderly. 

“I was a fit and healthy man in my thirties, working and enjoying my life with my wife and my daughter,” he said.

“Within five days of experiencing my first symptoms I was admitted to hospital, where I spent 68 days in intensive care, most of that time on a ventilator, in an induced coma.

I was told by my doctor that I would be in the induced coma for a few days, but I actually woke up two months later. The impact of that is very frightening and it will have long-lasting effects.  

“Being in an induced coma on a ventilator means that you are unconscious and a machine has to breathe for you. I had multi-organ failure, and my family had to cope with me being unable to respond to them, unable to hear them, surrounded by machinery and tubes in a hospital bed. 

Martin said he has suffered long-lasting effects of the virus including “diabetes, shortness of breath and hypertension” but also noted the impact it had on his family.

“My wife says this was a living hell for her. She thought I was going to die, and the hospital had to ring her twice to tell her that I might not live. I eventually began to recover, thanks to the staff in Beaumont Hospital and the family and friends who prayed for me, and I was able to go home.

“Even now, my life and my health have changed.  I lost three-and-a-half stone in weight. I have diabetes, shortness of breath and hypertension. I did not have these conditions before. I need an inhaler and I am short of breath going up or down the stairs.”

“I don’t know what the longer term effects are going to be,” he added. 

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Martin was speaking publicly about his experience of the virus as the number of cases of the virus continue to rise nationally. 

Dublin, and more recently Donegal, have been put under further restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. 

A decisions is also to be made this week by Government on whether to increase Covid-19 restrictions in Louth, Cork, Wicklow and Galway amid a rising number of cases in the four counties. 

Public health officials have been pleading with members of the public to limit their social interactions, to wear a mask when in public places or congregated settings and observe social distancing, while also washing their hands regularly. 

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