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Man with ‘Seasonal flu’ left in coma over blood infection Brighton News

24-year-old Devan Hopkins started feeling unwell in October 2022 and was told by a doctor that he was experiencing winter flu symptoms.

A few weeks later, after complaining of severe headaches and exhaustion, Devan had two further blood tests and was prescribed migraine tablets.

But over the next week, Devan started to lose 4 kilos in weight and his headaches got worse.

When he returned to the doctor, Hopkins underwent more blood tests and was told he had a heart murmur.

He was taken straight to Lancaster Royal Infirmary and had an echocardiogram where he was told he was suffering from infective endocarditis, an infection caused by bacteria that enter the bloodstream.

The Argus: Devan had a bicuspid heart valve.Devan had a bicuspid heart valve. (Image: SWNS)

Further tests showed Devan had a bicuspid heart valve, where the aortic valve only had two flaps instead of the usual three.

Devan was then transferred to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Lancashire, for surgery to replace his aortic valve, repair his mitral valve and remove an abscess on the aorta.

The operation was due to last six hours but 13 hours later the surgeon told Devan’s parents, Tracy and Glen Hopkins, both 54, that the procedure had been “complex”.

Devan was in critical condition as they discovered that had strep, pneumonia and sepsis which wreaked havoc on his body and he was placed in an induced coma over Christmas.

After 10 days on life support, Devan was later given the all-clear leaving the hospital surrounded by his family.

Discussing the incident, Devan a labourer, from Morecambe, Lancashire, said: “Normally I’m really fit and healthy and have only occasionally needed to go to the doctor.

The Argus: Devan was in surgery for 13 hours. Devan was in surgery for 13 hours. (Image: SWNS)

“I was feeling really under the weather and the usual over-the-counter medicines weren’t having any effect.

“I decided I needed to go and just check things out, thinking that maybe I needed a short course of antibiotics or something to clear it up.

“A few weeks later, I went back to the doctor for more blood tests.

“By this point, the infection markers and other blood markers had gone through the roof and it was on this appointment that the doctor heard a loud heart murmur.

“We had no idea the nightmare that was ahead.”

He added that he had multiple trips to the doctor in October 2022 and after a planned holiday to Prague, Czech Republic he had become “gaunt and pale” and was still exhausted.

The Argus: Devan was in hospital over Christmas.Devan was in hospital over Christmas. (Image: SWNS)

Adding: “My parents really didn’t want me to go, they felt I was too ill to travel, and we should delay the trip, but I thought the change of scenery might be just what I needed.

“My mum recalls now how worried they were while I was away and how relieved they were when we both returned home safely.

“When they saw me, they were shocked and extremely worried at how gaunt and pale I had become.”

Further tests found that Devan had a bicuspid aortic heart valve and was transferred to Blackpool Victoria Hospital on December 16, 2022, where he had an immediate operation.

He said: “My surgeon hoped to get the infection down before surgery and I was placed on a large dose of antibiotics.

“He reassured me regarding the operation and hoped I would be up and about in a couple of weeks and fingers crossed should be home for Christmas.

“It was 13 hours before the surgeon returned to the family room to update my parents, unfortunately, the operation had been extremely complex.

“Not only had I got strep and pneumonia I also had got sepsis which had wreaked havoc on my heart and lungs.”


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Devan was brought off life-support on December 27, 2022, and spent a further 14 days in the hospital.

His mum, Tracy, said of the moment he came around: “We were saying we love you, we are proud of you and you thought so hard.

“It is hard to describe the moment, I experienced pure joy to see that he was still with us – I can’t express how thankful we are to see that he was alive.

“All the way through we wanted to remain positive and kept telling him to fight.”

He was finally allowed home and reunited with the rest of his friends and family in January 2023 and hailed as a “Christmas miracle” by hospital staff.

More about this article: Read More
Source: www.theargus.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-12-06 09:27:22

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