Upwey man urges us to get the flu jab after spending a month in a coma

Upwey man urges us to get the flu jab after spending a month in a coma

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:24am 15th October 2019.

44-year-old Kevin Mutch was admitted to Dorset County Hospital with breathing difficulties in March.

He woke up at the start of May and was told he's been in a coma for over a month with the flu.

Kevin had ignored his initial invitation for a flu jab last year, and he's now warning other people not to make the same mistake.

'What happened?'

Kevin received a letter this time last year inviting him for a flu jab, but he ignored it.

He told Wessex FM:

"I didn't really see the need at the time.

"It would have taken time out of my day and I didn't really fancy having a needle stuck in me."

For a few months, Kevin felt fine. Until one day in March, when he felt 'a little bit fluey' in the office. He had a mild asthma attack the next morning. 

"I've got underlying asthma but it's not something that's ever really caused me a problem in the past. I called the paramedics, which I'd been advised to do in the past."

They were unable to relieve the problems at Kevin's house, so he was taken to hospital where he tested positive for flu. 

Kevin remembers being wheeled to a ward and being told he needed to be put to sleep to help fight the virus.

Photo of Dorset County Hospital

'One month later'

Kevin was put in a coma for a month to help his body cope with the virus. He was woken up once, but then put back under due to the onset of sepsis.

He woke up with very little awareness of what had happened. 

"Although I'd been asleep for a month, I lived an entirely different month in an alternate dream-world.

"I dreamt I was in the Pacific at the outbreak of the second world war. I dreamt of a friend dressing up as a giant pineapple and jumping up and down in the background of a TV news interview.

"Because I'd been in this really vivid world, it took me a few days kind of laying there trying to reconcile what was real and what wasn't.

"At one point I thought I'd been asleep for two years. One of the first questions I asked... I asked my dad whether Manchester City had won the league yet, whether Weymouth had been promoted."

Injection Needle


'Flu Jab warning'

Kevin's now warning others not to ignore their flu-jab invitations. He said:

"I think anyone now who's in two minds about it, learn from my experiences. The letters are there for a reason.

"The flu isn't something that is a minor inconvenience. A lot of people will say they've had the flu and they've been a bit run down for a couple of days, but the flu is a lot nastier than that."

ill flu cold

According to the NHS, flu symptoms include:

  • A sudden fever - a temperature of 38C or above
  • An aching body
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • a dry cough
  • a sore throat
  • a headache
  • difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • feeling sick and being sick

They say typically you can tell the difference between the flu and a cold:

Flu:

  • Appears quickly within a few hours
  • Affects more than just your nose and throat
  • Makes you feel exhausted and too unwell to carry on as normal

Cold:

  • Appears gradually
  • Affects mainly your nose and throat
  • Makes you feel unwell, but you're OK to carry on as normal (for example, go to work)

A spokesman for Dorset County Hospital said: 

"We are strongly encouraging all of our staff to get their flu vaccination this year to protect themselves, their patients and their families.

"Kevin's story shows just how important it is for anyone offered a free flu jab to get it as soon as possible.

"Flu jabs are also available to everyone who would like one through pharmacies."