Covid survivor urges BAME community to get vaccine after life or death struggle

A COVID survivor who was in an induced coma for 30 days is urging others from black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to get the vaccine.

Philip Kudjoe, 36, was in an induced coma and on a ventilator with 80 per cent oxygen for three weeks last March at Basildon Hospital. There was the very real prospect that he might not recover.

The single parent has now made a full recovery and is back home in Basildon with his eight-year-old daughter, Kyra, and has an important message for other members of BAME communities, who may be unsure about getting the COVID vaccine.

Philip, from Basildon said: “COVID is not a joke – it’s literally life and death. I’ve had the vaccine myself and I would encourage everyone to have the jab and to protect themselves, their loved ones and everyone else.”

When Philip contracted COVID, he began self-isolating on his GP’s advice, but continued to feel rough and had difficulty breathing. When his brother called to check on his wellbeing he was shocked at his breathlessness and called an ambulance.

Philip wanted to thank everyone who supported him through his journey to recovery. He said: “I can’t thank all the nurses and doctors at the Critical Care Unit (CCU) at Basildon Hospital that helped me on my road to recovery enough – I’m so grateful for their fantastic care.

“I also want to thank my brother, friends and family who cared for my daughter and supported me throughout the whole journey – I wouldn’t have gotten through it without you all.”

One of the members of hospital staff who supported him through his recovery was renal consultant, Poorva Jain, who has helped to manage Philip’s kidney condition for the last few years. She was the first familiar face that Philip saw after waking up from his induced coma.

Philip said: “Seeing Poorva after coming out of a coma made me feel safe and I knew I was alive, well and would be going back home to my daughter.”

Poorva said she had been in tears when she saw him in a critical condition in the CCU: “We were both quite emotional when I went to visit him in the CCU. I was the first familiar face he had seen in over three weeks so it was very special.

“When I was told he had COVID I was very worried, as I see him every month when he attends my clinic and he always brings his daughter Kyra along, who is such a delight – we’ve built such a strong rapport over the years. I’m just so happy he has pulled through and is doing well.”

Kyra said: “I really missed my dad while he was in hospital. Nan and granddad said he would get well – but I was worried. I want to thank everyone who helped make him better.”

Philip was given physiotherapy and is now able to walk, helping him safely return home to his daughter.

Mick Ferris

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