A care home worker who was in an induced coma for four weeks after catching Covid has made a “full recovery” – after being treated with an experimental drug.
Claire Haythorne, 45, had been in intensive care since she was rushed into hospital on November 9 after suffering a severe case of Covid.
She was in an induced coma on ventilation for 35 days with doctors telling her worried family that it was “50/50” whether she would pull through.
But doctors tried her with Anakinra – a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis – as a “last resort” and within three days, she was awake and out of her coma.
Now the grandmother-of-one, from Sheffield, South Yorks., is undergoing physiotherapy at hospital and is expected to return home within weeks.
Her daughter Leah, 18, said: “I don’t think it had been used much before, the doctors said it had only been used in very severe cases as a last resort.
“I’m just so grateful and happy they did use it and it worked on my mum.
“The nurses didn’t know much about it either, but the doctors said they were going to give it a go.
“I’ve been speaking to her every day and she can’t wait to come home.
“She was gutted she missed out on her Christmas dinner. Christmas is a big thing in our house, I think she’ll have about three dinners when she gets home.”
Mum-of-two Claire was rushed into hospital after spending ten days at home bed bound with severe symptoms after testing positive for Covid.
Her anxious family – partner Tariq, 52, son Jordan 23, and daughter Leah – were told to expect the worse by doctors after she was transferred to intensive care.
Claire was immediately put on oxygen and into an induced coma in a bid to minimise the damage to her kidneys and lungs.
Leah added: “She tested positive and was bed-bound for about 10 days.
“Then she got worse, she was in a bad way so we rang 111 and they said to call 999 immediately.
“It was so hard being away, you never realise how much she does for us around the house. I’ll never take her for granted again.”
Medics at Northern General Hospital described the treatment to her family as the last throw of the dice, but she responded almost immediately.
Claire was given the drug on December 8 and just three days later she was awake.
She has since been released from her Covid ward onto a normal hospital ward and had her tracheotomy – a tube in her windpipe that breathed for her – removed on December 27.
Leah said the family have been “Facetiming her 24/7” and cannot wait for her to come home.
They have not been able to visit Claire during her hospital stay, but Leah was allowed to drop clean clothes off for her and staff wheeled her to the entrance to wave.
She added: “It was so emotional, my mum said it made her day.
“The nurses wheeled her to the door of the ward and let me wave at her. I couldn’t get close to her, but it was just lovely to see her.”
Son Jordan, 23, said: “Her chances were getting slimmer and slimmer as it went on. But now she’s bounced back and we’re so proud of her.
“It was a case of the doctors saying ‘it’s not going to do her any harm, so let’s give it a go.
“It’s like a miracle, it still doesn’t seem real. The level of hope we had last month was so low.
“We’re just over the moon that she’s on the mend and she will be home soon.”
Claire is undergoing intense physiotherapy before she is allowed to leave hospital.
On Monday, she stood up for the first time with the help of walking aid and the family hope she will be home “within a week or two”.
Her partner Tariq Mahboob said: “For the first few weeks, it was really upsetting.
“Every time we rang up, we weren’t getting anything positive from the doctors, they kept saying she was critical.
“She’s absolutely fine now, the only problem at the minute is that her legs don’t work.
“She can’t walk so she has got to have physio every two or three days.
“We don’t know if it will be a wheelchair job or if they will want her to walk before she can come home, it will be up the doctors when she can come home.
“But it’s absolutely amazing just to know she is coming home.”