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Specialist doctor who survived Covid-19 to take on mountain challenge

By Thomas Parkes | Staffordshire | Health | Published:

A consultant anaesthetist from a Staffordshire hospital is set to take on a mountain in Wales – three months after surviving coronavirus.

Dr Murali Vallabhaneni

Dr Murali Vallabhaneni, who works for the University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust (UHNM), suffered with the virus at the start of May.

The healthcare professional spent two weeks at the Critical Care Unit (CCU) and was put on a ventilator as his condition deteriorated.

But now – after making a full recovery – he is set to take on a 3,559ft trek to the summit of Mount Snowdon with his 13-year-old son Rohan and colleagues.

The challenge on August 15 will see him raising money for the UHNM charity in a bid to improve parts of the hospital and patient experience.

Dr Vallabhaneni, who works at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, provides anaesthetic services to critical care, oncology and vascular patients.

He said: "I was considered to be very poorly, so was admitted to the CCU at Royal Stoke, where I was given hi-flow oxygen. Unfortunately my oxygen levels became dangerously low, so it was decided to put me on a ventilator.

"My condition had deteriorated significantly, enough so to give my colleagues a very anxious three days. When I woke up I was very weak and unable to perform even simple tasks, so was totally reliant on the care of the critical care staff. I stayed on CCU for a further four days before finally being discharged from hospital after three weeks."

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He described it as a "challenging" period, with his wife – who also tested positive – forced to self-isolate and his two children having to look after themselves more.

Dr Murali Vallabhaneni

And it saw him lose a total of 10kg and caused him to be breathless after walking short distances – along with suffering from severe muscle wasting.

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But he praised his colleagues – as well as his family – for their "immense and invaluable" support throughout his fight.

Dr Vallabhaneni added: "Throughout my critical care stay, the staff on the unit were incredible.

"Despite working in difficult conditions wearing full PPE, they continued to perform their duties and provided the highest quality of care to all patients, including myself.

"I decided to attempt my Snowdon climb as wanted to challenge myself and raise as much money as possible to improve the working environment and patient experience on the unit that did so much for me."

Donations to Dr Vallabhaneni's appeal can be made online at www.uhnmcharity.org.uk

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Senior Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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