'Defying science' - Covid-hit carer 50/50 after nearly dying multiple times
- Credit: Ricky Taylor
After nearly four months in hospital locked in combat with Covid-19 a carer who was infected at work can respond to nurses and recognise her children in photographs.
Stephanie Taylor's three children have been summoned to her bedside multiple times since she was admitted to the James Paget University Hospital on November 8 last year - but so far she has always rallied, confounding medics and defying science.
Her son Ricky Taylor has hailed his mother's "incredible" fight against the virus, which has taken a huge toll on the family already coming to terms with his father's multiple sclerosis.
Doctors say she now has a 50/50 chance and her children have set up an online donation page to make things easier if she does get better and is able to go home.
Mr Taylor, 33, who lives in London, said it had been "a hellish few months" but that his mother's amazing ability to repeatedly astonish medics after being handed the grimmest of prognoses was an inspiration.
"Every doctor that has treated her has probably learned more from her than at medical school," Mr Taylor said.
"I just do not know where she gets the fight from.
"The will to live is incredible. We are hoping that this is the start of a good recovery period.
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"She will need up to a year of rehab and is not going to be the same."
Mrs Taylor, who lives in Gorleston and has an existing health condition COPD, was working as a carer at Gresham Care Home in the town when she contracted Covid-19.
It started with a persistent headache, but she went downhill quickly, becoming delirious on November 9, when an ambulance was called.
After about a week on the ward she took a turn for the worse and was put on a ventilator.
On November 23 the family was told she was not going to make it.
The last hope was ECMO treatment at the Royal Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, a process which replaces the lungs by oxygenating the blood outside the body.
After three weeks hooked up to the machine they were called again saying she was making no progress and nothing more could be done.
Having dashed to his mother's bedside Mr Taylor said seeing a ward full of people showing no signs of life was "like something out of a horror film" that would haunt him forever.
They said their goodbyes and expected the worst but by Christmas Day she was still critical but alive and they were allowed a Facetime call, although she could not respond.
On January 13 there was what seemed like good news - she was being taken off ECMO after 50 days, way longer than the recommended two weeks.
In fact it was because she had suffered a bleed on the brain, her blood was simply too thin to be able to carry on safely with the treatment.
On January 23 they packed their bags after being summoned again, her infection markers had spiked, her kidneys had failed, her lungs were compressed, and her heart damaged.
But again she pulled through.
On February 6 she was transferred back to the JPUH, suffering a suspected stroke or seizure a few days later although a scan and lumbar puncture failed to detect anything.
Six days later her husband was able to visit and say his goodbyes. But the following day she woke up, was able to follow commands, and mouth words.
Currently she is being weaned off the ventilator and they are looking to take away kidney support.
"She is probably now as well as she has been and she seems to recognise us in photographs and is responding to doctors and nurses," her son said.
"I never expected to see her awake again.
"It's incredible that she is still with us after the amount of times she has been written off by real experts, defying science.
"After the fight she has been through she deserves not to struggle again if she does make it out.
"There will be plenty of other things to worry about and we are chuffed we have already raised over £1,000, but it would be great to be able to pull in something really special."
To support the appeal visit the gofundme page here.