‘She was in a coma’: Air ambulance boss reveals niece’s coronavirus fight

East Anglian Air Ambulance chief executive Patrick Peal has revealed that his niece fell into a coma

East Anglian Air Ambulance chief executive Patrick Peal has revealed that his niece fell into a coma after contracting Covid-19. Picture: SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The head of the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) has spoken of how his niece ended up in a coma as a result of contracting the coronavirus.

Chief executive Patrick Peal revealed his family’s experience while appearing in the second of the Norfolk Talks series, a new project from Norwich-based fashion designer Emily Jupp in partnership with the Eastern Daily Press.

He spoke of how a work colleague had lost family members to Covid-19, and shared how his niece had recovered after falling ill with the virus.

He said: “I bet there are some people out there who are saying ‘is this Covid-19 really as bad as everybody makes out?’ Well, we’ve seen lots of stories in the media about people losing their loved ones and how tough it is for the NHS frontline staff in hospitals caring for people, but it’s not until it comes really close to us that we really believe it.

“One of my colleagues at work has lost two of her very close family members, and my own niece suffered from a very bad case of coronavirus and was in a coma for 24 hours. Fortunately, she is now fully recovered.”

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The Norfolk Talks series is set to bring video chats from a wide range of personalities from many different fields, with the intention of informing and entertaining people after the coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Peal stars in the second of the videos, after the series was launched with a discussion and demonstration of traditional African music from Zimbabwean-British musician, dancer and business executive Anna Mudeka.EAAA’s chief executive also discussed how the charity has adapted how it operates during the coronavirus pandemic, how its priorities have changed and how they are looking after patients, staff and volunteers.

“We reshaped our entire operation in a matter of days, both charity and operational. We’re focussing on what needs to be done right now, and so many of our staff have changed their roles so that they can focus on what is needed in the here and now.

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“For our clinicians, we’ve put all of our operational teams’ efforts into sourcing PPE, changing the way our crews work at a scene and, of course, finding ways of transporting Covid-19 patients safely and securely, in the best interests of the patient and the staff.”

The third Norfolk Talks video, featuring the county’s police and crime commissioner Simon Bailey, will be released next week.

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