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Frindsbury mum-of-three tells of Covid battle at Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham

A mum-of-three from Medway who nearly died from Covid-19 after falling desperately ill on Christmas Day, has confessed she was a doubter who thought the virus was "exaggerated".

Kelly Cooney was put in an induced coma, airlifted to a hospital in Oxford and has been left temporarily paralysed after being struck down with the deadly illness.

The full-time carer has since spoken of her "bitter regret"over not taking the devastating effect of the global pandemic seriously.

Speaking from her bed at Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham, she said: "I was one of those who thought, it's out there, but it's not going to happen to me.

"But I have seen it with my own eyes. I have seen people die around me. This is for real."

The 37-year-old tested positive in mid December but being in good health and having no symptoms, except a slightly high temperature, she disregarded the result.

But her condition suddenly deteriorated on Christmas Day morning when she crawled downstairs at her home in Frindsbury Road, Frindsbury.

Kelly speaking to her relative
Kelly speaking to her relative

She had turned grey and her lips were blue.

Her family called an ambulance and she was placed on a ventilator in intensive care.

At one point her close-knit family were told to prepare for the worst and discussions were made about organ donation.

Medical staff rallied round organising Skype calls with Kelly's children Daisy, 18, Camren, 15, and Summer, 10; her sister Louise Stoppani, 39, and parents John and Dawn.

They also shared friendship bracelets with her family.

Louise Stoppani feared the worst when her sister got coronavirus

Divorcee Kelly said: "The nurses were amazing. They were at full capacity in ICU, looking after up to four patients each.

But they still found time to do this. I can't thank them enough. I owe them my life."

On New Year's Eve, Kelly was taken by air ambulance to an emergency bed at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, where she was eventually stabilised and discharged back to Medway a week later.

She has undergone kidney dialysis, is receiving PTSD counselling and is awaiting to be transferred to a rehabilitation ward for physio.

Kelly, who looks after her father John Cooney, a liver transplant patient who used to run The Bell pub in Frindsbury, said: "They have said I might need a wheelchair and walking aid for the next four weeks. I haven't seen my children since Christmas Eve. I just want to get home and see everyone."

On of the mend: Kelly Cooney is still in hospital but recovering from Covid
On of the mend: Kelly Cooney is still in hospital but recovering from Covid

Louise, a health worker and mum-of- two from Rochester, added: "We didn't think she would make it.

"But she is a fighter and is determined to raise money for the NHS to thank them for saving her life."

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