‘I’m why you must take this seriously’ - Healthy 28-year-old tells of coronavirus horror

PUBLISHED: 06:00 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:12 24 March 2020

Ryan Van Waterschoot was put on an oxygen mask for five days while he battled coronavirus in hospital. Picture: Ryan Van Waterschoot

Ryan Van Waterschoot was put on an oxygen mask for five days while he battled coronavirus in hospital. Picture: Ryan Van Waterschoot

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A 28-year-old man with no health conditions has urged people to not be selfish as he told how he thought he was going to die in hospital from coronavirus.

In a stark warning Ryan Van Waterschoot, from Wisbech, said the ‘horrifying’ virus could happen to anyone and stressed the importance of staying inside to protect everyone’s health.

He first felt unwell on March 6 when he completely lost the sense of taste and smell and, within one day, went from feeling fatigued to not being able to move.

Mr Van Waterschoot said: “On the Sunday I work up feeling horrendous. I felt sick. I had no energy. I managed to drag myself to the shower but I couldn’t do anything else all day. It felt like my body had shut down overnight.”

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Mr Van Waterschoot's progessing coronavirus symptoms led to hospitalisation. Picture: Ryan Van WaterschootMr Van Waterschoot's progessing coronavirus symptoms led to hospitalisation. Picture: Ryan Van Waterschoot

As the day progressed Mr Van Waterschoot began coughing constantly to the point of vomiting and was unable to even hold down water.

On Monday morning, Mr Van Waterschoot called the doctors who believed it was a sickness bug and advised him to rest.

But two days later his condition deteriorated with a ‘horrendous’ temperature which left him violently shaking.

He said: “I was absolutely roasting, even though the house my freezing cold and all the windows were open. I was shaking non-stop and the fever was really taking its toll.

Ryan Van Waterschoot said he would not have been able to recover from the virus if it was not for his family, wife and hospital staff. Picture: Ryan Van WaterschootRyan Van Waterschoot said he would not have been able to recover from the virus if it was not for his family, wife and hospital staff. Picture: Ryan Van Waterschoot

“I still thought it could be a sickness bug but it kept getting worse and worse. I didn’t get a wink of sleep as I was just coughing and throwing up non-stop. At this point my fever was through the roof.”

By Thursday he had no choice but to call the doctors again who immediately advised an ambulance.

When paramedics took his temperature it had soared and Mr Van Waterschoot was taken to the A&E department at Peterborough City Hospital before transferring immediately to an isolation ward.

He said: “Honestly I felt relieved that an ambulance had come and I just really needed some care at that point. It felt like my body was shutting down.”

Ryan Van Waterschoot, a healthy 28-year-old, had not been abroad when he contracted coronavirus. Picture: Ryan Van WaterschootRyan Van Waterschoot, a healthy 28-year-old, had not been abroad when he contracted coronavirus. Picture: Ryan Van Waterschoot

Tests taken at hospital showed Mr Van Waterschoot was suffering from pneumonia.

He said: “I was put onto a drip and antibiotics. I couldn’t go out or see anyone. I couldn’t bring myself to move at all. All I could do was lay there. I was spaced out.”

A swab test taken in hospital then confirmed coronavirus.

Mr Van Waterschoot, an account manager in Peterborough, has not been abroad for three years.

He said: “It was a massive shock and even the doctors were puzzled. It was the worst news of my life. You see it on the news every day and you see people are dying. I thought I’m going to die here, which is a horrendous thought for someone in their 20s.”

In hospital, Mr Van Waterschoot’s condition worsened and a further X-ray revealed the virus had spread over his lungs.

He said his breathing became incredibly short and the oxygen in his blood plummeted.

Mr Van Waterschoot wore an oxygen mask for five days while doctors contemplated a transfer to intensive care.

He said: “I realised how real it was and my family was in pieces. I was laying there on my own and I didn’t think I was going to make it out of the hospital. I thought it was the end of the road for me. I wouldn’t have been able to breathe at all if it wasn’t for the mask.”

But by the end of the week he started to feel better and was discharged on Saturday to recover at home, where he is self-isolating.

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He said: “I want to thank all the staff at the hospital as they were truly wonderful. I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without them and my family and wife.”

Warning those not following government guidelines, he said: “Just stay at home and don’t be selfish. Don’t think you’re not going to get it because you’re young, fit and healthy – anyone can get it. Please think of others as it can be passed on to hundreds of people. Do the right thing and stay inside.”


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