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Hospital receptionist went back to work as her nurse partner fought for his life in intensive care

Experienced nurse who got Covid-19 was put into coma and spent weeks in intensive care

23 June, 2020 — By Tom Foot

The couple’s daughter is now planning on studying medicine at university 

A RECEPTIONIST at the Royal Free came back to work while her partner was fighting for his life in Covid-19 in the hospital’s intensive care ward.

Iye Kargbo was unable to visit her partner, who was in an induced coma, because of strict visiting restrictions imposed at the Hampstead hospital.

Ms Kargbo, who has worked at the Royal Free for 23 years, said: “Colleagues said to me, ‘Iye you’re so strong’. What they didn’t know was I was going home and crying. We truly did not know whether he would make it home to us.”

Her partner Ibrahim Kamara is an experienced nurse who manages staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’s hospital. He has type 2 diabetes and thought his initial symptoms were connected to that disease rather than the coronavirus.

He said: “Straight away they told me they wanted to put me on a ventilator but initially I refused. I knew that the chance of me surviving was 50/50 if I went on a ventilator.

“But despite being given more oxygen my situation didn’t improve and I realised my options were limited. Even though I was an experienced nurse I was just so shocked at what had happened to me.”

After four weeks, Mr Kamara was slowly brought out of the coma but he faced an additional two weeks on the intensive care unit. He has lost three stone and is recovering from the tracheotomy.

Ms Kargbo suffered from panic attacks and palpitations due to stress of Ibrahim’s worsening condition.

She was helped by her 19 year old daughter Mamusu, who is now planning to study medicine after the experience.

Mamusu wants to study medicine at Cardiff University 

She was helped through the ordeal by Dr Karnika Raja, a paediatric consultant and family liason officer at the Free.

Mamusu said: “I turned 19 on a day when Dad’s condition was actually deteriorating and I was incredibly upset. But  managed to make me understand the situation and how there were always going to be setbacks along the way and that I must try and remain positive.”  She added: “I now want to be a doctor.”

Dr Raja added: “I’m very touched that Mamusu said how valuable my input was. I remember speaking to her on her birthday and her telling me that I’d cheered her up and she was going to write the conversation down so she could remember it in years to come.

“I’m thrilled to hear she’s decided to become a doctor. That means so much to me.”

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