Covid-19 Wakefield mum given hours to live in ‘miracle’ recovery

A woman who made an incredible recovery from Covid-19 was given just two hours by hospital chiefs to show signs of improvements or her ventilator was to be switched off, her husband has said.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 12:01 pm

An incredible video was recently posted online showing Clare Trueman being given a round of applause by staff as she was wheeled out of Pinderfields to go home having won her battle against the deadly virus.

But her husband Brian has since spoken about the “nightmare” his family went through as Clare’s condition deteriorated rapidly, spending weeks in intensive care and came terrifyingly close to losing her life.

Brian, a 55-year-old verger at Wakefield Cathedral, said: “There were some really dark days, even now it’s hard to put into words how I feel.

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Clare Trueman is back at home with her husband Brian and son Charlie after spending weeks in Pinderfields Hospital fighting Covid 19. Picture Scott Merrylees

“I’m not sure how I got by some days.

“I was shocked, I mean she was really, really poorly but I just couldn’t believe it.

“One minute she’s sat beside you and the next you’re being told over the phone that she is in a coma.”

Coronavirus in UK live blog: latest as survey suggests one in 400 people in England is infectedAlarmingly, 50-year-old events manager Clare showed none of the recognised symptoms of coronavirus and simply felt “generally unwell” a week before being admitted to hospital.

Then one evening her condition went rapidly downhill and she was struggling to breathe so Brian rang for an ambulance. At this point he was still not convinced she had the killer illness, despite Clare being in the ‘at risk’ category with type-two diabetes.

Arriving at their South Elmsall home within minutes, it was only when the paramedics entered the house in full hazmat suits and masks did the reality begin to hit Brian.

Clare was rushed to Pinderfields and like all relatives of coronavirus patients, neither Brian or their 13-year-old son Charlie was allowed to go with her or visit.

The next day Brian received the crushing news that Clare had been put into a coma and was on a ventilator.

Worse was to come when Clare failed to respond to treatment, and Brian was told by medical staff that they wanted to see an improvement within 36 hours.

But when that failed, the hospital told Brian they wanted to try one last procedure before taking the devastating decision to withdraw her life support in two hours - turning Clare from her back onto her front.

Known as prone positioning, it can help the sickest patients gets more oxygen into their lungs.

“I was willing to try anything to keep Clare alive,” said Brian.

“It was a nightmare scenario, I just couldn’t believe it.

Wakefield in lockdown: Your photos that sum up life in lockdown for you“I waited all night but no phone call came, then they phoned the next day said she showed some good reactions.

“I think it saved her life. It was a miracle.”

Clare eventually made enough progress to be taken off the ventilator after undergoing a tracheostomy.

Making gradual progress over 26 days in intensive care, she was eventually able to breathe on her own.

Brian and Charlie were then speak with Clare online, before she was moved to a ward which they could visit.

Brian said: “I think the worst thing as a husband is not being able to see her or hold her hand. When you are that poorly you need someone with you.

“I just kept going for Charlie’s sake. I do not know what I would have done without him here.

“He understood his mum was really poorly, but like every parent you protect your children so I could not give him any bad news, we kept him busy and his school, QEGS, were great, they kept him busy doing work.

“It’s hard to think about what happened, but Clare is more mentally alert than I am now.

“She has her up and down days but she’s doing her physio and is getting stronger.”