An NHS doctor has been left legally blind after suffering a stroke while battling Covid-19 in hospital.
Doctor Sanjeev Sharma, 66, was previously fit and healthy before being hit by the virus in the early days of the pandemic last year, LancsLive reports.
The consultant obstetrician and his wife Dr Dee Sharma suspected he may have contracted Covid when he began feeling unwell and have a high temperature, but thought they would just need to follow the advice at the time to remain in their home.
Dr Dee Sharma said: “My husband has worked for the NHS for almost 40 years and I don’t remember him having a day off sick in all that time so it was very unusual.
“I phoned them and they told us to go for tests. So we both went for tests and the very next day he was called on his mobile to say he was positive for Covid-19.
“When he asked about me they just said the result wasn’t ready yet. He started staying in our bedroom, he was very anxious, and I was thinking if I go too close to him I will get the infection so he tried to keep himself away from me.”
On April 9, 2020, Dr Sanjeev was taken to Southport Hospital, where they confirmed he had Covid and put him on oxygen.
But Dr Sanjeev quickly took a turn for the worse, and was moved to the intensive care unit where he was intubated within just days of arriving at the hospital.
When he again became worse doctors decided to do a tracheostomy, and get a CT scan to see why he wasn’t responding as well to treatment as they had hoped.
It was then they discovered he had suffered a massive stroke which affected the parts of the brain associated with vision.
Dr Dee, who had to isolate at home on her own while her husband was fighting for his life, added: “I think it was May when they were going to take the intubation from the mouth and do it through a tracheostomy.
“They found he was responding more as he hadn’t been responding as well as other patients at the time. The decision was then made that he should have a CT scan of the brain to see why he hadn’t been responding.
“He had the scan and I was told that it was done and they were just waiting to confirm the diagnosis after it had gone to The Walton Centre.
“Then the next day, on May 12, I was told that he had had a stroke. It had been a major stroke that had affected the visual area of the brain and other parts on his left and right side.
“I was told he might not be able to see, walk, talk or even swallow. There was nothing I could do, that’s what it was. They then allowed me to go and see him once.
“He was then gradually weaned off from the intubation. His chest was getting better but his vision had completely gone. He couldn’t see a thing.
“He had no other physical disability, he could walk and everything. He was then sent to The Walton Centre for rehabilitation. He was transferred there on June 10.
“He stayed there then came home on September 30. I was not allowed to visit him all the time, they alternated during that time. Sometimes I was allowed to see him, sometimes I wasn’t.”
When Sanjeev returned home he required social care at first, with community nurses visiting him.
Dee soon found that he was becoming unsettled with the nurses coming in and out of their home.
Both have had to leave their jobs, with Dee becoming Sanjeev’s full time carer.
The former Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust doctor said: “I’m his prime carer 24/7. It’s a very hard life for us because our whole world is upside down. We were both working as frontline NHS doctors.
“Before the pandemic we had very active lives and travelled everywhere. We didn’t spend much time at home then all of a sudden it all crashed.
“We miss our work and we have to leave everything behind because of what the situation is now. He can’t work, he can’t drive, he can’t see.
“It’s quite depressing at times and people can’t visit because of Covid because we have family all over the world.
“Most of my family are in India and my brother is in San Francisco. My husband’s sister is in America, his brother is in Australia. Nobody can just travel and come see us.
“We haven’t had any help from our family. None of our family have seen him since it happened except our daughter who lives in London. There is not a single day that goes by when we don’t both sit and cry.”
Dee was also keen on praising the work of the doctors and nurses that helped Sanjeev whilst he was in hospital.
She said: “I would like to emphasise that this story is not about blaming our hospital trust (Southport & Ormskirk NHS Trust), they could not have supported and helped us more in this terrible time which we were in. We are very grateful to them.
“This story is about how Covid-19 has devastated our family and affected our lives forever.”