39-year-old Survives COVID After Wife 'Begged' for Life Support Not to Be Turned Off

A 39-year-old man has spoken out about surviving COVID-19 after his wife decided not to turn off his life support machine when he was on the brink of death.

Adam Banks, from the U.K., was put on a ventilator days after being admitted to hospital after catching COVID-19 in January, Teesside Live reported. His wife Marie said at the time she thought he may be given oxygen at the hospital and sent home.

"I never imagined it would turn out the way it did," she said.

Her husband was hospitalized for three months, and was in a coma for five weeks during this period.

Banks said his lungs had collapsed by around 90 percent, and his wife and mother of their two teenage children was given the option of turning off his life support.

"She refused and begged them to come up with another option," Banks said.

It was decided Banks would be transferred to a different hospital and hooked up to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine.

ECMO and ventilators are both types of life support machine, but an ECMO is a more advanced form. A ventilator can aid or control a person's breathing, while an ECMO removes, oxygenates and replaces blood in the body so the heart and lungs can rest.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people should be vigilant of the warning signs of severe COVID-19, at which point a person should seek medical help immediately. They are: having trouble breathing; feeling persistent pain or pressure in the chest; feeling newly confused; being unable to wake up or stay awake; and skin, lips or nail beds that have turned pale, gray or blue depending on the person's skin tone.

Certain people are at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19, which can require hospital treatment, including needing intensive care with a ventilator.

These include adults aged 65 or over, and those with underlying medical conditions. However, otherwise healthy people can also get seriously ill and even die of coronavirus.

Banks said he was paralyzed from the neck down after he was taken off the ECMO machine.

"I hadn't eaten in two-and-a-half months, and my voice box had collapsed from the treatment so I spent around two weeks back in intensive care to build some strength up and learn how to walk."

Banks was discharged on April 19, and did not stop using oxygen until a few weeks ago. He also had to re-learn how to swallow and talk.

Doctors have told him it could take him around 18 months to feel better, and he still struggles to do daily tasks such as opening bottles.

Both Banks and his wife, who also caught COVID-19 when he fell ill, have been vaccinated. He said this made him feel "much more protected" for the disease.

hospital patient, stock, getty
A stock image shows a patient having their hand held at a hospital. Adam Banks spent three months in hospital with COVID. Getty Images