A 21-year-old with no underlying health conditions has revealed how COVID-10 attacked her vital organs and left her fighting for her life on a ventilator.
Lily Burns, 21, from Fort William, had no health conditions when she got coronavirus, with doctors initially thinking it was a kidney infection and sending her home.
But Lily’s health quickly deteriorated when COVID-19 started attacking her heart, lungs and kidney, and she was rushed to hospital, where she was put on a ventilator for a week.
She has now recovered enough to be sent home to her family, telling BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: ‘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.’
Lily Burns, 21, had no underlying health conditions when she caught coronavirus and was left fighting for her life when COVID-19 attacked her vital organs
Lily was on a 5k run tor raise funds for NHS workers on Thursday 16 April when she started feeling sick.
Her temperature soared to 39.7 in a matter of hours, and she had shooting pains through her stomach.
Her family phoned 111 and went into an outpatients surgery to be told that she had a UTI and a possible kidney infection.
Lily was given an anti-sickness tablet before being sent home, revealing: ‘A high temperature was the only coronavirus symptom I had.
Lily was in a critical condition for weeks, with doctors placing her on a ventilator for a week before her miraculous recovery
‘Because of Covid they didn’t want me going into hospital so they sent me home and said if I got any worse to go to A&E.’
But throughout the night her health deteriorated and, at 4am, she went into A&E before she was admitted into Belford hospital in the early hours of the morning.
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The 21-year-old spent five days in the hospital, when she was given CT scans and numerous blood tells and told she could have a UTI, kidney infection, problem with her appendix.
She said: ‘They did loads of tests, and by this point they thought it wasn’t a kidney infection but they didn’t know what it was.’
The youngster was released from hospital and reunited with her family after her miraculous recovery from the disease (pictured with her father Philip Burns, mother Ainsley and sisters Lleah and Daisy)
Lily said that her battle for life was ‘traumatic’ for her family after COVID attacked her internal organs including her heart, liver and kidneys (pictured, with Philip, Ainsley, Daisy and Lleah)
She also took an initial test for COVID-19 which came back as negative, and said she felt optimistic, revealing: ‘I thought I was going to get out for the weekend, that was the plan.’
On Wednesday 22 April, she was ‘feeling better and walking around her bedroom’ when a her ‘world flipped’ and she was told she did have coronavirus.
Lily was taken to a different hospital, Raigmore, in an ambulance, but she quickly became critical ill as the disease attacked her internal organs.
Lily has now returned home to recover with her family, but admitted she is still ‘very emotional’ about ‘nearly not’ surviving the virus (pictured with Philip, Ainsley, Daisy, Leah and Leah’s boyfriend Jonathan)
‘I was told I was going as a precaution. But 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, everything.’
On paper at least, those over the age of 50 and, in particular, people with other health problems, including heart disease and diabetes, have most to fear from the new coronavirus.
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Early studies from Wuhan, China, where the disease was first identified in December last year, suggested 80 per cent of all deaths were in those over the age of 65, with the worst outcomes for patients in their 80s.
Younger people were much more likely to suffer a ‘mild’ illness, or no symptoms at all.
Dr Stephen Griffin, a virus expert at Leeds Institute of Medical Research, warns: ‘Everyone, potentially, is at risk. Yes, the odds get worse as we get older. But each time a person is infected, a struggle begins between the virus and that person’s immune system. And you can’t say, with any certainty, which will win – because genetics, and many other factors we don’t yet understand come into play.
‘So, while it’s true that eight in ten patients with severe disease will be over 65, two will be younger. And when you multiply that on the huge scale, that is a lot of young people who could be killed by this virus.’
Dr Nathalie MacDermott, a paediatric infectious diseases specialist at King’s College London, agrees, saying: ‘We have seen people in their 20s and 30s die from this virus.
‘Some had underlying medical conditions, others didn’t.’
‘First of all, 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. They had to put me under sedation and that was me for seven days.’
In the early hours of Thursday 23 April, Lily was put on a ventilator in a critical state.
She has no recollection of the next week of her life, explaining: ‘The only thing I remember was getting out of the ambulance and being in a room with about 8-10 doctors and nurses I think. It was a bit overwhelming for me and I got a fright.’
A week later, on 30 April Lily and her family said that ‘a miracle happened’ and doctors were able to remove the ventilator.
By that afternoon, she was able to FaceTime her family, explaining: ‘When I came back around after the seven days, I thought I’d only been sleeping for one.’
She added: ‘I think it was way more traumatic for them than it was for me. I had no idea what was going on. I think I was looking pretty scary.’
Four days later, she was allowed to return home, with her sister Daisy sharing an emotional clip of the moment on Facebook.
In the video, Lily’s mother Ainsley and two sisters Lleah and Daisy can be seen rushing up to her as she walks out of hospital with the help of a nurse.
The family can be seen embracing in a huge hug as they battle back tears over their reunion.
Meanwhile Lily’s father Philip can also be seen offering his daughter a cuddle.
Sharing the post, Daisy wrote: ‘BEST DAY EVER! [We were] stopping and starting as we didn’t know if we were allowed to cuddle her or not.
Lily’s sister Daisy shared a clip of the emotional moment the family reunited on Facebook, commenting: ‘Best day ever.’ (left, the family racing to greet Lily and, right, Lily hugging her sisters and mother)
Lily could be seen looking emotional as she reunited with her family, while her mother put her arm around her shoulders
‘Four days off the ventilator and she’s out, absolute miracle child.’
Meanwhile Lily went on to explained: ‘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.’
‘They’re just happy to see my face after everything that’s happened.’