Coronavirus: 'Healthy' 21-year-old spent weeks in hospital

Lily Burns in hospitalImage source, Lily Burns

A 21-year-old who spent a week in intensive care fighting coronavirus has told BBC Scotland she thought she was going to die.

Lily Burns, who had no underlying health conditions, is now recovering at home and believes it is a "miracle" she is still alive thanks to NHS staff.

Lily, from Fort William, had initially gone into hospital with a suspected kidney infection.

But she rapidly deteriorated and was diagnosed with Covid-19.

She told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme she had been doing a run in aid of the NHS when she first started to feel unwell.

"I'd come home and was still feeling sick," she said. "We went to out-of-hours but they thought it was a kidney infection. A high temperature was the only coronavirus symptom I had.

"Because of Covid they didn't want me going into hospital so they sent me home and told me to go to A&E if I got any worse."

Image source, Lily Burns
Image caption,
Lily before she became ill

Lily continued to be sick so went into A&E during the night and was admitted with a kidney infection.

She had an initial test for Covid-19 but it was negative.

She started to feel a bit better but was sent to Raigmore Hospital as a precaution after a second test came back positive.

'Got a fright'

"By the time I got to Raigmore, I had deteriorated," she said. "The Covid had attacked all my internal organs - my heart, my liver, my kidneys.

"They tried to give me oxygen through my nose, but because I needed so much of it, my body couldn't take it through my nose so they had to put me under sedation and that was me for seven days.

"The only thing I remember was getting out of the ambulance and being in a room with about 8-10 doctors. It was a bit overwhelming for me and I got a fright.

"When I came back round after the seven days [under sedation on a ventilator] I thought I'd only been sleeping for one."

Image source, Lily Burns
Image caption,
Lily was reunited with her family outside the hospital

Once she started to recover, Lily was able to have daily conversations with her family on Facetime.

"I think I looked pretty scary," she said. "I think it was way more traumatic for them than it was for me."

After weeks in hospital and now back at home, she said: "I'm feeling very emotional about everything now. With me nearly not coming through, my friends have been coming over to the house with gifts, but obviously they can't come anywhere near me, so that's very hard."

BEST DAY EVER!! 💗 stopping & starting as we didn’t know if we were allowed to cuddle her or not 😂 4 days off the...

Posted by Daisy Burns on Monday, May 4, 2020
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In a Facebook post she said: "I need to take this time to thank the intensive care unit in Raigmore who I literally owe my life to, their practise [sic], support and ability to make me laugh was world-class and these truly are lives [sic] heroes."

In another post she wrote: "I can't begin to explain the impact this has had on my life. I will never ever be taking anyone or anything for granted.

"I can only be thankful it was me as I could never ever of [sic] coped watching one of my family or friends go through what they had to witness."

On Good Morning Scotland, she added: "I would advise everyone to stick to the restrictions because after what my family went through, I wouldn't want to put anyone else through that."