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Case study: Giving something back - Kerry's COVID-19 research story

Giving Something Back - Kerry's COVID-19 Research Story

Kerry, age 53, from Willenhall who is a nurse by background and is now Head of Quality for NHS Herefordshire & Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, decided to do something in return for the care she received when suffering from COVID-19, by donating her plasma for use in clinical research.

Once feeling well enough, she travelled to the NHS Blood and Transplant Centre in Birmingham, which is collecting plasma for the REMAP CAP study and the Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY (RECOVERY) trial, which is a national trial testing existing treatments that may help people hospitalised with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Kerry says: ‘I had been working from home but in early March I developed a slight sniffle and then the loss of smell and taste which was later identified as a symptom of COVID-19. I felt more and more unwell, with headaches and a high temperature and after six days I began to suffer severe breathlessness. Being a nurse, I had decided to struggle on rather than trouble any health services, but I eventually called my GP and was immediately admitted to Walsall Manor Hospital.

‘I was terrified when I first went in - I have never felt so ill. I was in hospital for 11 days with pneumonia on both lungs. I was warned that I could deteriorate very quickly and advised to put my affairs in order in case that happened. Thankfully I never needed to be admitted to Intensive Care but it was a scary time, especially as I couldn’t have any visitors.

‘I was so grateful to have come through it that I wanted to support others and reassure people that it’s not all doom and gloom - something positive can come out of it. As a healthcare professional I wanted to do something practical and after I saw the appeal for plasma on social media I thought that would be a good way to do it.

‘The staff at the Centre were lovely and so efficient - I would definitely encourage others who have recovered from COVID to think about doing it.

‘The virus made me feel powerless and this was a great way to make me feel I was doing something proactive to take back ownership of my own health.’