Peterborough mum placed in coma hours after giving birth reunited with son after miraculous recovery

A first-time mum from Peterborough has been able to hold her son once again after making a miraculous recovery after being placed in an induced coma, due to Covid-19, thanks to a specialist neuro rehab therapy.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 6:15 am
Hajrah and Huzayfah shortly after she gave birth.

Hajrah Aslam, a 28-year-old insurer, caught coronavirus in January 2021 when she was 35 weeks pregnant, which subsequently led to complications and her baby having to be delivered by C-section.

On the same night she gave birth to her son Huzayfah, Hajrah was put in an induced coma to help relieve her lungs after the virus caused her oxygen levels to drop significantly.

After her six-week ordeal in a coma, Hajrah was taken to Askham Rehab in April, a specialist neuro rehab community, near Doddington, to begin her recovery – a journey she describes as the hardest thing she’s ever had to overcome in her life.

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Hajrah outside Askham Rehab in Doddington.

The prolonged time spent in intensive care had caused Hajrah to suffer from polyneuropathy – the simultaneous malfunction of peripheral nerves throughout the body. She was left practically bedbound and unable to move her feet. In addition, she had a grade 4 pressure ulcer across the whole width of her back.

Upon arrival, Hajrah required specialist treatment from Askham Rehab’s multidisciplinary team who, following assessments, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals for her. She was then prescribed a treatment programme specific to her needs.

Treatment included weight-bearing, repetition, and hands-on therapy. A seating regime was used to build on the amount of time Hajrah could sit out of bed, while functional electrical stimulation, a technique that uses low-energy electrical pulses to artificially generate body movements, was used to aid ankle movement.

Sara Neaves, Clinical Lead and Outpatients Service Manager at Askham Rehab, said: “When Hajrah arrived at Askham, we really had to start at the basics. This included hands-on therapy, both from the physiotherapy team and the occupational therapy team, to try and work on the upper limb and lower limb strength, as well as functional activities.”

Hajrah speaks to her son Huzayfah via videochat.

Once Hajrah had built up enough strength, she made use of Askham Rehab’s new robotics and sensor assisted technology, thanks to it being one of a very small number of providers in the UK to offer a specialist robotic-led rehabilitation service.

Using Tyromotion’s OMEGO Plus, a multifunctional chair enabling specific training of functional therapy goals, Hajrah was able to challenge her lower limbs in strength, movement, accuracy, and coordination in a safe and secure position.

After 11 weeks of structured, high-quality person-centred care with a holistic approach, Hajrah was finally in a position where she could return home to her new family.

Sara continued: “The key to Hajrah’s amazing progression was her determination, motivation and hard work. Due to all these incredible traits, Hajrah was able to leave us much sooner than anyone had initially expected. Considering the condition she was in when she arrived, an 11-week discharge is an incredible feat.”

Hajrah and Huzayfah shortly after she gave birth.

Reflecting on her time at Askham, Hajrah said: “It’s the hardest thing I’ve had to overcome in my life. Everything just came at me at once, emotionally, mentally and physically. It’s been a really tough journey. When you say 11 weeks aloud, it seems crazy. It’s a really short amount of time and I’ve done it. It feels like I’ve won something. More importantly, I’ve got my life back.

“All I could see was my baby boy’s face. That was the end goal. I kept on saying his name, even when I was in excruciating pain, I kept on going and going. Being a first-time mum, I want to do all the things that mothers do; hold him, play with him. I feel like I’ve missed out from the beginning, but now is the time to make up for that.”

When asked what her highlights of the rehab process were, Hajrah added: “I loved cycling on the OMEGO Plus. There’s a little game where you cycle around the hills which really pushed me. The intensity of it really got me going and working. Another key milestone was being able to do the stairs. That was my biggest goal and I achieved it. I can now walk up and down the stairs slowly and safely, which is amazing. Askham has given me my life back. I’m a mum again and that’s all down to their hard work.”

Luke Cook, Head of Rehab and Nursing at Askham, said: “I got to meet Hajrah five hours after her arrival; she was bubbly, optimistic and humble. With every resident, we give them the chance to get their life back. However, with Hajrah, this was about someone starting a new life, a new life as a mother, so we knew she was going to give everything. Hajrah is absolutely everything you could ever want from an individual who is coming through a rehab therapy pathway. We’re delighted she has completed her journey with us and returned home to be the mum she wanted to be.”

To watch a video of Hajrah’s journey at Askham Rehab, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv5zl_xJngE.

To find out more about Askham Rehab visit https://askhamrehab.com/ or contact 01354 740269.