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“People have to step up to the mark” - how coronavirus survivor was among first on national clinical trials

PUBLISHED: 09:16 23 April 2020 | UPDATED: 06:40 24 April 2020

Graeme Brammall has made a full recovery after being treated for coronavirus. He was also among the first patients at the NNUH to be enrolled in a national trial. Picture: Graeme Brammall

Graeme Brammall has made a full recovery after being treated for coronavirus. He was also among the first patients at the NNUH to be enrolled in a national trial. Picture: Graeme Brammall

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A man who beat coronavirus and was among Norfolk’s first patients to enrol in clinical trials has spoken of how he wanted to “step up” to help with research into treatments for the disease.

Graeme Brammall was in hospital for nine days undergoing treatment for coronavirus. During his time in hospital he was a patient on a medical trial. Picture: Graeme BrammallGraeme Brammall was in hospital for nine days undergoing treatment for coronavirus. During his time in hospital he was a patient on a medical trial. Picture: Graeme Brammall

Graeme Brammall, from Cromer, was hospitalised for nine days at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at the end of March after contracting the virus and required high dependency care.

During his treatment, the 57-year-old was among the first patients to be enrolled onto the RECOVERY trial which is being led by researchers in Oxford.

The research is open to all adults who are hospitalised with confirmed COVID-19 and tests several medications that are used for other medical conditions that have shown promise of treating strains of the virus in other countries.

The father-of-six, who is a pest technician, had been to A&E for leptospirosis and around a week later began feeling ill at home. After calling 111 and a visit from a paramedic, he was taken to hospital where he learnt he had coronavirus.

Graeme Brammall, from Cromer, spent nine days in hospital, to be treated for Covid-19, in which he took part in the hospital's Recovery Trial. Picture: Graeme BrammallGraeme Brammall, from Cromer, spent nine days in hospital, to be treated for Covid-19, in which he took part in the hospital's Recovery Trial. Picture: Graeme Brammall

Upon arrival he was taken to the high dependency ward, to receive oxygen to help him breath.

Mr Brammall said: “I was really, really sore, I was drifting in and out of this world. All I wanted to do was sleep all the time, I had no energy.

“It is the most frightened I have been in my life. My chest was shaking from the inside out.”

The grandfather-of-three instantly said yes to take part in the trial, as he wanted to help others and was concerned he would not survive.

Mr Brammall said: “At the end of the day, I was in such a state I did not expect to survive because of what was going on around me at the time, but I was determined in my mind. I have got to many things in my life that I haven’t done yet, my youngest children are 14 and 17 and still growing up, there is the grandchildren to look after and we want to retire this year.

“I would say I am a healthy person. I like being a busy person. To be struck down like this, like a thunderbolt from nowhere.

“At the end of the day if you can help somebody in life and help save lives, you would. How are they going to find a cure? People have to step up to the mark or we are going to be in the dark ages and not move forward.”

When he was moved off the ward, he received cheers from the team as he became one of the first patients to recover after high dependency treatment.

He praised the team’s efforts, adding: “One of the positives were the staff in the high dependency ward, there was someone by my bed 24/seven. If my wife phoned they were always willing to keep her in the picture. I couldn’t fault them.”

Since returning home on April 8, he says he has begun to feel like himself and has kept busy by clearing out the house and looking forward to his newly finished “mancave”.

He said: “I’ve had lots of cards and lots of wellwishers, whether it has been by phone or text from lots of my customers from around the region. It was fantastic to come home, the best feeling in the world.”


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