Ambulance driver beats the odds to survive coronavirus

AN ambulance driver who doctors thought may never regain conciousness during his battle with coronavirus has returned home.

Nigel Fitzmaurice, 57, has defied medics to fight back from Covid-19.

The patient transport driver, who is based at Weeley Ambulance Station, fell ill last month after a sudden coughing fit while shaving.

Partner Lisa Oldershaw became concerned as his condition worsened.

“I called a paramedic to get advice and when I explained his heart rate and the other observations I’d made, he told me to call 999,” she said.

He was taken to Colchester Hospital and then admitted to intensive care.

Days later, Lisa was told despite being given two different trial drugs, there was no more they could do and it was possible that he may never wake up.

His last chance was a transfer to Royal Papworth Hospital for therapy on an Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine similar to the bypass machines used for open heart surgery.

There are very few in the country and patients have to be carefully assessed before being allocated to one.

They are usually reserved for young people with a better chance of survival but Nigel’s fitness meant he got the go ahead.

On arrival it was discovered he had also suffered a brain bleed, which caused complications with the blood-thinning drugs he needed.

It was estimated he would have to spend up to six weeks on the machine, but within ten days he had regained consciousness and transferred back to Colchester Hospital.

He has now been discharged to his Clacton home.

Lisa said: “Nigel is still on oxygen, but we’re getting there.

“It’s amazing what he has done in five weeks.

“The specialist said that there were people who had spent 60 days on the machine, but he recovered within ten days and within five weeks of feeling ill, has been able to come home.

“We would like to thank the two paramedics, who acted very professionally and quickly to get Nigel to hospital, and also the staff at Colchester and Royal Papworth hospitals.

“Without their care, he would not be here today.”

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