Nurse forced to quit after 28 years in NHS due to Long Covid

Brenda Eadie was hospitalised with Covid in March 2020 and has struggled with harrowing symptoms ever since.

Long Covid: Nurse forced to quit after health battle amid calls for support for frontline workers STV News

A nurse struggling with Long Covid symptoms has claimed she feels “tossed aside” after being forced to quit her job.

Brenda Eadie, 45, from Glasgow, was taken to hospital after contracting Covid while working at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

The medic, who has had 28 years of NHS service, was working at Low Moss Prison when she caught the virus.

Ms Eadie’s health battle became so severe that she was unable to carry on nursing and has been left with a variety of symptoms, including extreme fatigue, pain and mobility issues.

She told STV News: “I cannot do anything. I cannot travel because when I do, I need a mobility scooter.

“I am not at the age where I am wanting to be jumping on a mobility scooter to go on holiday. I can’t go to the gym, and I have weakening of my muscles in my hands.

“There are times when I am lying on the bathroom floor just screaming, please just take me, I can’t take anymore. I get severe pain in my back and I am vomiting because of the pain.

“If I have a day when I am very active, I will spend the next three days in my bed and will not be worth a button. My batteries will just run down.”

She recalled the terrifying day she woke up “unable to speak” in November 2021.

“I just couldn’t get the words out,” she added. “I have still not seen neurology. I have been passed from department to department.”

Ms Eadie’s experience was one of several highlighted by MSPs during a Holyrood debate on Tuesday.

Ministers discussed support for people with long Covid during Tuesday's debate

A petition signed by 100,000 is to be handed into Downing Street calling for the introduction of a compensation scheme for frontline workers with Long Covid.

Recent figures suggest that up to 175, 000 people in Scotland have reported suffering from long COVID.

A survey for the Keyworker Petition UK team’s found 20% of key workers with long COVID surveyed who said they were at risk of losing their home due to financial circumstances.

On Wednesday, a group of Scottish nurses and other key workers delivered a petition with over 118, 000 signatures to Westminster, urging the UK Government to create a pension and compensation scheme for all keyworkers who have developed long COVID as a result of their frontline work during the pandemic.  

She has backed calls for more support for frontline workers suffering from long-term health issues following the pandemic.

She said: “In my eyes I was sacked with nothing put in place to help with my finances or my health. I was just tossed aside like trash.

“I didn’t ask to be disabled. I simply went out and did my job. We now need people to stand up and help us.

“There are people losing their homes and are financially destitute. I can’t even cook properly as I set fire to my home.

“There are other key workers, not just nurses, who are the same situation who have lost their livelihoods and their lives.

“We are looking for this to be recognised as an industry illness as we need financial help and support.”

Meanwhile, a husband and wife with three children from central Scotland have told how their lives have become completely unrecognisable due to Long Covid.

They have been paying for hyperbaric oxygen therapy at a private clinic twice a week.

The wife said: “I’ve lost my job and I’ve developed POTS (Postural tachycardia syndrome) as a result. I would have had a heart rate of 40 lying flat, but just standing it would rise to 150 and moving about it would be higher.

“I get a lot of chest pain, shortage of breath and have to lie down. There were a whole host of other symptoms that were really confusing.

“Our doctor listened to us, we offered us treatments and she offered us hope which is a huge thing which helps you go on from this.”

Her husband said the fatigue from the simplest of tasks can be debilitating.

“When we were at our worst, I couldn’t pick up a book and read to my kids, I couldn’t read two pages without feeling nauseous,” he said.

“In terms of my own experience, I’ve gone to a cardiologist and three years into the pandemic, they said to me they didn’t know a lot about long covid and I was more of an expert than them. To me that is not acceptable.”

He said Long Covid patients were left without answers as medics are unsure how to treat the condition.

He added: “If you are told by your doctor that rest is the only way to go and that doesn’t help, then you are probably not going to go back and ask the same questions if that has been a few times.

“I think the demand probably is there but people are trying to find their own way. They are not getting the solutions either from their GP or hospital care.”

Dr Claire Taylor from Tayside Complete Health

GP Dr Claire Taylor runs a private specialist clinic one day a week in Dundee.

She said Tayside Complete Health has been overwhelmed with demand to treat the symptoms of Long Covid , with appointments booked up until August.

She said: “I’m now getting handwritten letters from people handed in saying ‘please, please can you see my relative now? I don’t think they can wait.’ To me this does highlight that there is an unmet need.

“Given the fact that around 3% of the population is estimated to have Long Covid, this is no longer a rare condition.  

“We need to listen to patients. We need have co-ordinated care and medical investigation.

“I also think it is important for people to understand what Long Covid is. It’s not covid symptoms that just go on a bit longer. It can be different for each patient which is why we need more research and awareness.”

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