Doctor and his wife beat coronavirus symptoms

Doctor and his wife beat coronavirus symptoms by checking each other’s breathing patterns so he could get back to hospital frontline to treat others

  • Dr Harmandeep Singh, a cardiologist at Ealing Hospital in west London, and his wife self-isolated while keeping an eye on their symptoms of coronavirus
  • Dr Harmandeep is back on the NHS frontline fighting the ‘war’ against Covid-19
  • Ealing Hospital has been divided into two sections of coronavirus and non-coronavirus centres, with little movement of staff between them

A doctor and his wife bravely overcame coronavirus together by monitoring each other’s breathing patterns – and now he’s back on the NHS frontline treating patients.

Last month, Dr Harmandeep Singh, a cardiologist at Ealing Hospital in west London, was suffering from extreme tiredness, fever, and struggled to walk up just one flight of stairs.

Dr Singh, 36, ensured the couple were monitoring each other’s breathing as a priority, which they did through concentrating on their speech.

He and his wife shut themselves out of all social media to stop themselves becoming more stressed and anxious about their condition.

Dr Harmandeep Singh, a cardiologist at Ealing Hospital in west London, was suffering from extreme tiredness, fever, and struggled to walk up just one flight of stairs

Now he is back on the NHS frontline fighting the ‘war’ against Covid-19.

Explaining how they monitored each other’s breathing, Dr Singh said: ‘Can she talk in full sentences? Can I talk in full sentences or not?

‘That was the only thing we monitored at home. Because that’s a sign.

‘If you can’t talk in full sentences that’s when your lungs are being affected, that’s the time you need to seek medical help.’

Dr Singh and his wife suffered symptoms including a high heart rate, lack of energy, and breathing difficulties for 10 to 12 days.

The father-of-two tracked his illness and found that after the first four days of body aches, persistent temperature and breathing difficulties, day five felt as if ‘nothing had happened’ for a couple of days.

But then day eight was a ‘sudden deterioration again’. 

On day 12, Dr Singh said: ‘I was perfectly fine, back to normal. 

‘That does reflect with patients that we are seeing, sudden deterioration or sudden improvement in 24 hours.’

Dr Harmandeep Singh, a cardiologist at Ealing Hospital in west London, and his colleagues

Ealing Hospital has been divided into two sections of coronavirus and non-coronavirus centres, with little movement of staff between them.

NHS staff call families of loved ones on the wards each day to update them on their progress, but the volatile nature of the disease means things can change rapidly.

Dr Singh’s breathing test 

If you can’t talk in full sentences that’s when your lungs are being affected, that’s the time you need to seek medical help at hospital.  

Dr Singh said: ‘As a healthcare professional, and I think most of my colleagues will agree with me, that it has been emotionally challenging for us.

‘We are seeing what the general public is not seeing, the other side of coronavirus, the worst side of coronavirus.

‘People really do not understand the severity of the disease. I know most people will get a mild disease and get over it.

‘But for those who are getting severe disease it can be life changing for the families and it is extremely hard for us to see that suffering in those patients as well.’

To keep morale up, the staff discuss positive progress each morning and look at the number of patients they have been able to discharge.

Dr Singh said he felt very proud of how the hospital staff on all levels have responded to the challenge.

Thank you flags put up near the hospital, cards from children and the general public as well as ‘enormous’ amounts of food from local businesses, have also brightened the spirits of hospital staff, making them feel valued.

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, which manages Ealing Hospital, has registered one of the highest number of coronavirus deaths in England.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?

Like other coronaviruses, including those that cause the common cold and that triggered SARS, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness.  

  • The most common symptoms are: 
  • Fever 
  • Dry cough 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Fatigue 

Although having a runny nose doesn’t rule out coronavirus, it doesn’t thus far appear to be a primary symptom. 

Most people only become mildly ill, but the infection can turn serious and even deadly, especially for those who are older or have underlying health conditions.  

In these cases, patients develop pneumonia, which can cause: 

  • Potentially with yellow, green or bloody mucus
  • Fever, sweating and shaking chills
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Rapid or shallow breathing 
  • Pain when breathing, especially when breathing deeply or coughing 
  • Low appetite, energy and fatigue 
  • Nausea and vomiting (more common in children) 
  • Confusion (more common in elderly people)
  • Some patients have also reported diarrhea and kidney failure has occasionally been a complication. 

Avoid people with these symptoms. If you develop them, call your health care provider before going to the hospital or doctor, so they and you can prepare to minimize possible exposure if they suspect you have coronavirus. 

However Dr Singh revealed there was more positivity behind the headline figures.

For example, a 99-year-old patient, who he had previously believed was about to die, recovered completely and was discharged,

Dr Singh said: ‘We’ve had people in their 90s who we thought were at the end of their lives and will not make it, we made the phone calls, explained to the families, and three days later they were at home.

‘So it’s not all bad, we’ve had good success in sending people home.

‘I came back from not being able to climb one flight of stairs to being able to doing perfectly normal work within three days.

‘If someone does contract the virus, it’s not the end of the road.’

Dr Singh said social distancing was the most important action to take in this ‘wartime’ effort to ensure the best possible defence against the disease.

Dr Singh said: ‘What we are fighting is a virus, something that we don’t know about, something that we can’t even see, something we don’t know how it’s going to react when it gets into your body.

‘There is no cure, no vaccination. So the only way to contain this virus is to stay away from each other and not pass it on.

‘This essentially is a war, it’s what we are in, so people need to understand and take it seriously.

‘The NHS is up for the fight, but what the NHS really needs from the general public is they need to stay indoors.

‘Not going out for a month is not going to do any harm to your health, but it will make a massive difference in terms of this Covid crisis.

‘Social distancing, seriously, stay at home. That is the key.’

 

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