'Heart failure at 20': Student's harrowing experience after second dose of Covid

Nadine Carroll
·3-min read

A 20-year-old university student said she experienced congestive heart failure after contracting Covid for the second time.

Madeline Neville, from Philadelphia in the US, shared a Facebook post on December 8 hoping to educate people who “don’t believe in the severity of the pandemic”.

Ms Neville said she quarantined in October after she was diagnosed with a “mild case” of coronavirus and returned back to her normal life after she had recovered.

It wasn’t until she was diagnosed again with the virus in early December that she experienced “intense chest pain, shortness of breath, and a slew of other horrible symptoms”.

Madeline Neville who contracted Covid twice
Madeline Neville, 20, was diagnosed with Covid-19 twice, the second time she suffered heart failure. Source: Facebook

The student was at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton where she said she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure brought on by complications of Covid-19.

“They did a test on my heart and found myocarditis, my heart was functioning at 11 per cent and that was enough for them to call it congestive heart failure,” she told The Philadelphia inquirer .

After being airlifted to Pennsylvania’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Ms Neville spent nine days there where she said going to the bathroom and showering alone was difficult, she even struggled to brush her own teeth or walk more than 10 steps.

“I still have a long, winding road to recovery ahead of me, which quite honestly scares me beyond words,” she wrote.

‘I was completely healthy’

Ms Neville said she became angry after reading social media posts from people who believe the virus isn’t real, prompting her to share her experience to explain how it can affect young people.

“I was the horrible case that feels so far out of reach. You can now say that you know someone, a young person at that, that had to fight for their life as a result of the virus. I was completely healthy.

“It is quite easy, for young people especially, to take their health for granted. I know that I did. I believed that my youth and health would allow me to make it through any run in I had with the virus relatively unscathed,” she explained.

Ms Neville also took aim at those who complain about social restrictions not allowing them to have large gatherings or attend restaurants.

“Our lives have all changed throughout this year and inconvenience is becoming the new normal. I understand that it is frustrating and that sometimes it feels like it is too much.

“However, as someone who has been on the end of it, I wish I had chosen inconvenience over jeopardising my health,” she wrote.

‘I wish I had been more careful’

The university student said she first tested positive for Covid three days after one of her four roommates was diagnosed.

“I wish I had been more careful in my social interactions prior to contracting COVID, to save myself, my family, and my friends the pain of uncertainty regarding whether or not this illness would kill me.

“This has been my reality this week, and you can rest assured I simply could not care less which restaurants are open anymore. I am just thankful to be alive at home with my family,” she wrote.

Ms Neville is staying with her parents recovering and told The Philadelphia inquirer she is feeling better.

“But it’s still hard and I’m weak for the first time in my life... I’m definitely not back to normal,” she said.

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