‘Terrified’ Edinburgh woman left bed-bound three months after Covid-19 collapse

Barbara Melville, from Edinburgh, is confined to her bed and fighting to recover, three months after contracting Covid-19.

The 37-year-old has Covid-induced pneumonia and post-viral fatigue. At times she has been terrified. “It’s hard to sleep when you can’t breathe properly. I was never sure if I’d wake up the next morning.”

Ms Melville first developed a dry cough on 14 March, followed by a sore throat, fever and shortness of breath that rapidly worsened. After two weeks, she was struggling to breathe and called 111.

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Call handlers told her that her laboured breathing was caused by anxiety.

Barbara Melville, from Edinburgh, is bed-bound and fighting to recover, three months after contracting Covid-19

Shortly after the call she collapsed at her home and was admitted to the Western General.

“They said it was Covid-19 based on my symptoms and bloods, but a doctor said to me he would get into trouble if he tested me for the virus.”

Discharged the same day Ms Melville went home feeling lost. For the past three months, the Artificial Intelligence technologist has been cared for at home by partner Ben.

She said: “I’m bed-bound. I can’t walk more than a few paces without feeling unwell. Standing up causes breathlessness, tachycardia and sometimes dizziness. I have constant fatigue and don’t even have energy to wash my hair.”

Ms Melville has accessed a physiotherapist as part of a special recovery group in Edinburgh. She said: “The team said I need a cardiology assessment but my GP has refused this.

“I paid for a private GP and they sent me an inhaler. I can’t afford to keep that up, as I’m off work.

“It’s as if as soon as you are labelled as having post-viral fatigue it’s a dustbin diagnosis.

“We need research into Covid-19 longevity and the longer-lasting symptoms, so GPs are better equipped to support us.”

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