Covid: Seth Burke, 13, returns home after weeks in hospital
A thirteen-year-old boy with a life-long progressive condition can finally celebrate Christmas, after weeks in hospital with Covid.
Seth Burke caught the virus just days after becoming the first wheelchair user to become a member of the Welsh Youth Parliament.
He’s more vulnerable to the effects due to his condition and had been fighting for his life in intensive care.
Seth said he did not want anyone else to go through this “scary” experience.
He urged people to get vaccinated.
Seth, from Dinas Powys in the Vale of Glamorgan, has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which made his treatment for Covid more complex.
He tested positive for Covid on 13 December and started to go downhill a few days later when his temperature rose and he felt very unwell.
The teenager was taken into the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and, after deteriorating further, was admitted to intensive care where he was put on non-invasive ventilation to help him breathe.
On Christmas Day, his parents were braced for the worst when his lung collapsed, but he pulled through and, on Wednesday, he will finally go home.
Seth said the whole situation was “quite scary”.
“I didn’t really know what was going on at the time, it’s a bit of a blur,” he said.
“There were a lot of machines and beeping. It was very loud, it wasn’t very nice and I just wanted to go home.”
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Seth’s mother and father, Lisa and John Burke, said they had to face the possibility they might lose him.
Mr Burke said: ”I think on that really early Christmas morning when I had to phone Lisa and say he’s really gone downhill, I was really scared.
“All these things flash through your mind and there is the potential you might lose him and it was touch and go.
“Thankfully he had all the support of the doctors and nurses in the intensive care unit who were really brilliant and we managed to get him through it.
“I’m just glad he was in the right place at the right time.”
By New Year’s Day, Seth had bounced back and was out of intensive care and back on a hospital ward playing with Lego and his favourite video games, and watching TV.
However, he will feel the impact of Covid for some time as his parents said he is much weaker and he gets very tired.
His lungs need to repair and he has ventilation support to help him breathe at night.
Seth will not be able to join his friends back at school just yet either due to family fears of other strains of the virus. He will have his first jab next month.
Mr Burke said his son was a “real fighter”, adding: “I’m incredibly proud of him.
“I know adult patients who wouldn’t put up with half of what he has.
“He’s really resilient, really strong, always got a smile on his face, and just wants to crack a joke and have chat with people.”
The family will now have belated Christmas celebrations, finally getting to open their presents together and have a proper Christmas dinner – it was a Pot Noodle in hospital for Seth’s dad on 25 December.
Seth said he hopes his story is a strong message.
“I don’t want anyone to get as ill as I was and I want people to stay well,” he said.
“If you feel unwell, get a test and if you can get a vaccination, get a vaccination.
“Children can get Covid. I know people say they can’t, but they definitely can and I know because I’ve had it.
“I want to say thank you to all the doctors and nurses who’ve helped me get better.
‘I’ve had really good care, they’ve made me feel a lot better and all the doctors and nurses are really nice.”