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Covid-19 patient who recovered after 11 days in ICU discharged


The first Kenyan patient to recover from Covid-19 after being put on ventilators in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has been discharged from hospital.

Leon, not his real name, shared his experience with Citizen TV’s Asha Mwilu on Sunday after spending 21 days in the hospital after testing positive to coronavirus.

The man was admitted to Aga Khan Hospital and spent 11 days in the ICU, aided by a ventilator to breathe following complications cause by the deadly novel virus.

Leon had traveled out of the country on a Monday, and by Sunday, he was already feeling weak with no appetite. He at the time assumed it was fatigue from his travel.

On returning to the country, he started experiencing a dry cough, intense fever and felt nauseated for three days.

“When I came back, I self-quarantined myself as was required, but the symptoms persisted,” Leon said.

After a week of self-monitoring, he went to Aga Khan Hospital, where he was immediately put in an isolation ward.

After 48 hours in isolation, Dr Reena Shah, the head of the Infectious Diseases Unit who was handling the case, noticed his oxygen requirements were going up.

“We found that after 48 hours, his oxygen requirements were going up, so at that point, we decided to take him to ICU. We incubated him, put a tube into his lungs and artificially took over the function of his lungs, that’s what we call ventilation,” she explained.

Leon further stated that the 11 days in the ICU were the most challenging moments of his life as he tried to breathe using the ventilators.

“It is a very difficult situation because you feel like you’re choked. And I can tell you, sometimes you have a lot of mucus, a lot of discharge from your nose and lungs. It is very difficult,” he stated.

During that time, he was under supportive care, he was being fed artificially and the doctors were checking his blood frequently.

And while in ICU, Leon developed an infection that was treated immediately.

No one was allowed to visit him during the period, but his family members would always send supportive messages.

According to Dr Reena, the conditions of coronavirus patients deteriorate in a short time, and oxygen requirements rapidly increase.

“With no proven cure, medics are left to treat each symptom that the patient presents; if a patient has a cough, they would handle that at that particular time.” Dr Reena added.