Mother-of-two Stacey Fresco was given just hours to live by doctors battling her coronavirus – but one incredibly risky decision changed everything.
Stacey’s husband Adam was told to prepare for the worst on Mother’s Day by doctors at Whipps Cross Hospital in east London after her condition worsened in ICU.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Fresco told how his daughters, aged 21 and 23, read out their Mother’s Day cards to Stacey before saying goodbye to her.
He said: “I remember saying to the doctor, ‘Is there anything weird or wacky you can do [to save her] that has worked anywhere else?’, which is an impossible question for him to answer.
“When we were back in the waiting room, Dr Dave came back in and said, ‘Look, there’s one more thing we can try’, and he described proning. But the caveat was that it was really risky… and would more than likely lead to a fatal heart attack.
“But she was going to die anyway, so the three of us discussed it and we came to the conclusion that there was nothing left to lose, we had to try it.”
Proning involves moving a patient onto their stomach for 12 hours to help move fluid accumulated in a patient’s lungs, increase oxygen flow and promote the use of a different part of the lungs.
Mrs Fresco’s doctor said if anything could go wrong in the COVID-19 treatment, it would go wrong “really quickly”, so the trio waited at the hospital.
Mr Fresco added: “He came back after an hour and said she was still fighting, still surviving. He said, ‘Go home, we’ll ring you if anything bad happens.’ And that night the phone didn’t ring. They turned her the next day, on Monday night, for 15 hours, and the phone didn’t ring again.”
The following day, Mr Fresco received a phone call saying the treatment was working, and by Thursday he spoke to his wife on the phone after a nurse called him.
“I spoke to her and told her that we loved her, she had to keep fighting,” he said. “The nurse said that when Stacey heard my voice, she opened her eyes, and when I said, ‘You have to keep fighting’, she mumbled, ‘Okay’.
“The staff there were just brilliant. One nurse gave me her personal mobile number so I could send her a picture of myself and the kids, which she then printed out and taped to some of the equipment around Stacy’s bed.”
He added medics would routinely whisper words of encouragement to Stacey during her stay in ICU. After a few days in different units, she then spent a further 20 days recovering in hospital before being sent home.
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