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'Do it for you, do it for your family': Teenager who survived Covid-19 urges young people to follow guidelines

Jack Edge spent twelve days in ICU after contracting Covid-19 in April.
Oct 2nd 2020, 10:06 PM 41,922 46

TEENAGER JACK EDGE, who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this year, has asked young people to be careful about following guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.

The 17-year-old, who had no underlying conditions, contracted Covid-19 in April and spent twelve days in ICU.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One this morning, Edge said that his “main message” for young people is to “wear a mask, socially distance when you can”.

Do it for you, do it for your friends, do it so your elderly loved ones can be safe, so life can return back to normal.”

“I’ve had a few chats with some people [about my experience] and they’ve really been shocked by it.”

 Edge said that he has a “lot of trauma from ICU”.

“They put an airtight mask on me to help my breathing in the middle of the night and I was screaming, crying. It was really, really horrible,” he said.

Edge said that the only time his parents saw him when he was in ICU was when hospital staff Facetimed his parents using an iPad.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime later today, Edge’s parents Rob and Jen described the onset of Edge’s symptoms.

His father, Rob, said that his son first started showing symptoms that resembled a cold on a Monday in April. “Tuesday was a little worse, but Wednesday he started looking a bit feverish.”

His mother, Jen, is a healthcare worker, and decided that he should begin to self-isolate as his symptoms continued to develop.

By Thursday, his symptoms had worsened, and his parents booked a Covid-19 test for him that he attended on Friday.

His breathing started to get a little difficult, his temperature went through the roof, the temperature off him was absolutely incredible. I’ve never felt heat off someone that. Literally it was like standing against a fire,” Rob said.

By the following Monday, Edge was finding it increasingly difficult to breathe, and the family’s GP recommended that he go to the hospital.

“Going into the hospital, we had to get a wheelchair for him, he was so weak,” his mother, Jen, said.

“We got triaged pretty quickly but they actually sent us back out into the waiting room, which I was kind of shocked about,” she said.

Because of restrictions, his parents couldn’t stay in the hospital with him, and Jen said it was “really, really difficult” to leave her son in the hospital by himself.

“He was kept in and we went home and got stuff together, his clothes for the night.”

The next morning at around 6am, Rob and Jen got a call from Tallaght Hospital.

“I knew straight away when the nurse phoned me that there was something wrong,” Jen said.

Jen was told that her son was unwell and asked to come back up to the hospital because the consultant wanted to speak with her.

When she returned to the hospital, the consultant told Jen that her son, who had been hooked up to an oxygen machine and placed in a ward without other patients, was being moved to ICU and could be on a ventilator by the evening.

“Those words were truly shocking,” Jen said. “It was like an out of body experience.”

“It was like, ‘this can’t be happening to me, to our family’. You know, he’s been well, he has no underlying conditions.”

That night, Edge was put on a ventilator and was kept on it for twelve days.

“He’s doing extremely well for what’s he’s been through. He’s had three hospital admissions. When he left hospital after the first time on 23 May, two weeks after, he ended up back in hospital because when he came home, basically he had drop foot condition, which is very common with patients coming out of the ICU.”

When Rob and Jen brought their son back to the hospital to address the “excruciating pain” in his feet, they faced a six hour wait in A&E.

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On that visit, the consultant discovered that Edge had experienced nerve damage.

He is currently using crutches to move around and is taking around ten tablets every twelve hours.

Edge said that he would “never forget those words” when the nurse told him he could go home from the hospital.

He remembered feeling like it was “the best day of [his] life”.

“My parents came in and that was the first time I saw them in a long time. It was a moment I’ll never forget.”

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Lauren Boland

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