Coronavirus: 'Mum may need to be on a ventilator for life'

By Claire Gilbody-Dickerson
BBC News

  • Published
Ms Colmer and daughtersImage source, Emma Wilton
Image caption,
Christine Colmer with her daughters Michelle Smith (left) and Emma Wilton (right)

A woman may need to be on a ventilator for the rest of her life after Covid-19 caused irreversible damage to her lungs and respiratory system.

Christine Colmer, 66, was put in an induced coma at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth when she arrived with symptoms of the virus at the start of April.

She underwent a tracheostomy and remains in intensive care.

"To have our mum still here is an absolute miracle," her daughter Emma Wilton said.

Ms Colmer, from Plymouth, who is not believed to have had any underlying health issues, was taken to hospital on 5 April after experiencing breathing difficulties.

"She was at my house and it was me who called the ambulance for her and it was my cousin, who is a paramedic, who was first here," her 33-year-old daughter said.

Two days later, the mother of three was being put in an induced coma and spent 31 days on a ventilator.

Image source, Emma Wilton
Image caption,
Ms Colmer's family hope to have her back home soon

"The next time I spoke to her was five weeks later. The longest five weeks of my life," Ms Wilton said.

Ms Colmer remains in a "very critical" condition and can only communicate through a speaking valve.

Her daughter said hospital consultants believe that if her mother does end up having to rely on a ventilator, then she would need "24-hour nursing, 365 days a year".

"The doctors just don't know what the outcome will look like at the moment but there is a possibility that mum will remain on a ventilator," she added.

'Absolute miracle'

Ms Colmer's family has set up a crowdfunding page online to try to raise money "for basically anything she needs on her road to recovery", which has raised more than £25,000.

"We need to adapt her bungalow to meet her needs and to get her home so her family can be part of her rehabilitation," Ms Wilton said.

While she and her two siblings have gone into "autopilot" caring for their mother, she said the fact Ms Colmer was still breathing was an "absolute miracle".

"We need to take [it] a day at a time and hope our mum can continue to fight this battle because it absolutely is a battle," she said.

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