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Coronavirus patients continue to struggle with 'terrible psychological effects'

16 September 2020, 23:41 | Updated: 17 September 2020, 00:23

Coronavirus patients have told LBC about the mental pains suffered since being hospitalised
Coronavirus patients have told LBC about the mental pains suffered since being hospitalised. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Coronavirus patients say they are struggling with the "terrible psychological effects" of intensive care months after leaving hospital.

Some patients have expressed concern over the traumatic nature of being hospitalised during the pandemic and the effects it is having on people months after being discharged.

In an interview with LBC, Professor Grant McIntyre, from Perthshire, recalled how he spent more than a month in a coma and continues to suffer months on from his experience in intensive care.

He began having nightmares in hospital and claims he's still trying to recover from the "terrible psychological effects" of the experience.

“I was drifting in and out of consciousness and at one point I can remember floating above the bed and seeing this lifeless body just lying and realising it was me," he said.

“I tried to get myself together and say to myself ‘you’re seriously unwell here, and you’ve got to focus on breathing and staying alive'.

"By the morning, the doctors came to do the ward round and I said ‘I feel that I’m deteriorating rapidly as the days go on and unless we do something dramatic I’m going to die.

“Sadly, after that point I didn’t have the chance to say to my wife or family just how much I love them."

Professor McIntyre said he still struggles with the guilt of not being able to speak to his family during that time.

Recalling when he finally woke up, he said: “I remember waking up, finally, on 20 May and that was a very strange sensation waking up from a coma.

“I didn’t really know where I was, in many ways I didn’t even know who I was either.

Read more: Inside Intensive Care during the coronavirus pandemic

“One thing I do remember is that this coincided with the George Floyd police killing in the United States, and unfortunately that had a terrible psychological effect on me.

“Night after night I would have very paranoid, vivid dreams that I was living the life of George Floyd.

“I felt that the tube in my neck was some of the nursing and medical staff with a knee on my neck trying to kill me."

Intensive care patients have recalled traumatising experiences
Intensive care patients have recalled traumatising experiences. Picture: PA Images

“I was also having strange daytime dreams as well. I thought there were animals and snakes climbing out of the roof of the ICU and at one point I remember feeling as if there was a python wrapping itself round my chest trying to kill me which was all very unsettling.

“I later found out from the doctors that delusions and paranoid thoughts are not entirely unusual in patients who’ve been in intensive care and have been critically ill, which gave me some reassurance.

Read more: Coronavirus survivor meets the NHS Intensive Care staff who saved his life

“Psychologically, I realised I was in a bad way when I regained consciousness.

“I did go through a period of a few weeks being slightly angry at the world, thinking ‘why me?’, but as time has gone on I’ve managed to get my round that.”