Dad of two the face of Countess staff flu campaign
A patient who spent 57 days in a coma after contracting the flu virus is urging the people who cared for him to get the flu jab.
Miles Negus, a married father of two, never imagined that his life would almost be cut short from flu, but that is exactly what happened when he returned home from a family skiing trip to Austria earlier this year.
Miles, 52, from Chester, initially thought he was over the worst, but his condition deteriorated rapidly on his return home, ultimately resulting in a four month hospital stay at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
“One minute I’m flinging myself down the side of a mountain at 60mph and the next, for me on a conscious level, I am in a hospital bed unable to move or do anything for myself,” he said.
Prior to contracting the flu virus that almost ended his life, Miles, a self-employed decorative artist, husband to Jackie and father to daughters Stephanie and Amelia, was fit and healthy.
Miles began to feel unwell just days into the trip after catching what he believed was a simple virus his daughter Amelia had felt ill with, but two days after returning home his condition had deteriorated to such an extent that his wife Jackie called the GP who immediately called for an ambulance to take Miles to the Countess of Chester Hospital. Within hours of arriving at the Emergency Department, Miles was placed in an induced coma and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit so medical teams could aggressively manage his multiple failing organs as his family were told to prepare for the worst.
Jackie said, “I couldn’t believe this was happening to us, we had only been on holiday. Miles had caught flu and our life had just changed like that. It was like a bad dream.”
Little did the family know how long their ordeal was to last. It would be 57 days before Miles was stable enough to be brought out of his medically induced coma and a further eight weeks before he was finally able to leave the Countess of Chester.
Intensive Care Nurse Louise Hunter said, “Miles was extremely poorly when he arrived in ICU, he was put on life support and given numerous drugs to support his heart and other organs to keep him alive.”
Miles said, “I appreciate how close to the brink I was on numerous occasions, just from influenza as the starting point, this illustrates that influenza is a very different beast than we commonly think of and what I do know is that I am extraordinarily lucky to be alive.”
Miles’ story resonated with so many of the staff at the Countess that after his wife Jackie approached the Trust offering to tell their story to help raise awareness of the consequences of not getting the flu jab, he is now spearheading the hospital’s internal vaccination campaign for staff.
Katie Holmstrom, Occupational Health Nurse and one of the flu campaign leads at the Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust said, “Miles’ story has touched so many people and that is why we have asked him to allow us to use his story to encourage as many staff as possible to get the flu jab. Miles’ frank insight into how the flu has impacted not only him but his family highlights how important vaccinating against flu is. Those who work in healthcare are not only at risk because of their exposure to the virus, but given the fact the flu can be present with no symptoms, there is a risk of infecting our already unwell patients.”
Katie adds, “Miles was fit and healthy and did not fall into any of the at risk categories, yet his life was almost cut short because he contracted the virus. Whilst this is an extreme example of how ill someone who is fit and healthy can become from the flu, it serves to emphasise how serious the consequences of contracting flu would be to someone already vulnerable to illness.”
Miles added, “I’ve been pretty blasé all the way through my life about inoculations and the like, especially about influenza – I’ve always thought it’s just like a bad cold. But now I’ll definitely be getting the flu jab.”
Information is available for the public on who should have the flu vaccine here: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/flu-influenza-vaccine.aspx