NHS 111 Manager looks for the positive following her Covid-19 experience

Kerry Collins is a Clinical Development Manager for NHS 111 at DHU Health Care. She works with the teams to identify and develop service improvements that improve the quality and safety of the DHU 111 service.

In late March, like many others, Kerry began minimising time on the office and working form home when she could. At the same time, she began to lose her sense of taste and smell. She had no real cough, but began to feel extremely tired and signed off sick. Kerry went on to develop a fever 9 days after her symptoms started and was referred by DHU for a Coronavirus test and on 6 April it was confirmed that she had coronavirus.

On day 14 from the symptom onset, Kerry started to develop some breathing difficulties and a tight chest. This was assessed by her local GP in full PPE on the street outside the GP practice and she was commenced on doxycycline antibiotics. The GP’s wanted to admit Kerry to the local hospital, but being a typical nurse requested to monitor her symptoms at home and go straight to the hospital if her symptoms worsened. Thankfully Kerry’s breathing did not deteriorate and she was able to stay at home.

Kerry describes the illness like no other she has experienced and even to date is still experiencing fatigue and muscle pains. Kerry’s sense of taste and smell still has not returned and the research is suggesting that this can take weeks to get back to normal.

It’s a slow recovery process, but Kerry was keen to get something positive from her illness and searched for Covid-19 clinical trials. One such trial involved taking plasma from the blood of someone who had contracted coronavirus, to see if a transfusion could help those in intensive care by boosting their immune response with the antibodies of the donor.

Kerry shared her story on social media to promote the clinical trial with any of her friends who may have been in the same position as her, recovering from coronavirus. It was several days before the media outlets had started discussing the trial, and Kerry felt it was important to share her story to encourage others to help the fight against the virus.

Kerry has received confirmation that she has matched the trial criteria and is waiting to hear from the blood transplant team when they would like her to attend to donate.