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Why I took part in Covid-19 Research

We find ourselves one year on with Covid-19. With the help of research, we now have insights on how to treat Covid-19, but still very little information with the long-term effects of COVID-19, particularly what the ongoing medical, psychological and rehabilitation needs are for this group of patients, and enable them to make as full a recovery as possible.

To address this, PHOSP-COVID is a long term research study recruiting 10,000 patients who have been hospitalised with Covid-19. Over the course of 12 months, they’ll carry out clinical assessments to gain a comprehensive picture of the long term impact Covid-19 has had on our health outcomes across the UK.

Mr. Colin Whittaker is a research participant taking part in PHOSP-COVID on our CRF, he has kindly shared his experience and why he is taking part in research. 

Hello, I am 54 years old and have had asthma my whole life. It was well managed with zero hospital visits for the last 30 years. I’m also a non smoker.

I was diagnosed with Covid in March 2020. Covid-19 attacked my lungs, nervous system, bones and kidneys. I was ventilated and incubated while in an induced coma for 25 days. I was resuscitated twice and on dialysis for 13 days. I had a tracheotomy to help me breathe, a tube down my nose for food.  I spent 8 weeks in hospital.

I have permanent neurological damage which resulted in semi-paralysis in my left hand and right foot. I have abrasions on my brain synonymous with a collision and my speech has slowed. I have holes in my lungs and the blisters come and go. I have permanent emphysema. I am now officially diagnosed with Long Covid.

Fatigue is big but the neurological pain is extreme. I take regular pain relief to manage my pain but these only put a dent in it. Homeopathy and science must combine to manage these crippling effects. Breathlessness, brain fog, lethargy are all daily challenges. Depression is the nuclear war I battle everyday. But a battle that Addenbrookes efficiently armed me for.

Because I got Covid-19 in the early stages and before anyone new anything about it, I have become a National case study. My blood and plasma and vein structure went to Oxford. My neurological and respiratory system were predominantly researched and treated by Addenbrookes. This includes cognitive studies.

Why did I take part in Covid-19 research?  The fact is, you can either be a part of the problem or part of the solution. The battle those nurses went through for me, for all these poor souls, I owe it to them to be the best patient one can treat. Because of their sacrifices, I am duty bound to live strong, get better, and campaign for their well-being. The more research the easier the prognosis and treatment. Everybody wins. There is no better way I can thank all of those who brought me back to life.

We’re so please that you’re here Mr. Whittaker #ThankYou for being part of research and sharing your story #ResearchVsCovid from all of here at NIHR Cambridge CRF.