Peterborough mum who was put in an induced coma after contracting rare neurological condition after catching cold returns home for Mother's Day

A Peterborough mum who was put in an induced coma for more than a week after contracting an incredibly rare neurological condition after she caught a cold has returned home for Mother's Day.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 12:37 pm

When 44-year-old Hayley Trotman was admitted to Askham Rehab, a specialist neuro rehab community, near Doddington, from an acute trust last November, she had spent three months in an intensive care unit (ICU) where she had stopped breathing twice and had to be mechanically ventilated with a tracheostomy. She had been in an induced coma for eight days during her treatment.

Hayley, who works in a school and resides in Orton Brimbles, near Peterborough, had suffered from Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a very rare and life-threatening condition that affects the nerves. GBS is so rare, that it is not fully understood why the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the nerves, but the condition often happens after an infection, and in Hayley’s case, it is believed to have been caused by a common cold she had last August.

The mother of three young children had an extreme condition of the syndrome where she was left in excruciating pain and unable to move any part of her body, except a couple of fingers.

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Hayley needed Askham Rehab to help her after contracting a rare condition. Pics and video: Askham Rehab

But now after a lengthy and specialised rehabilitation programme, Hayley will be able to return home to spend Mother's Day with her family.

Hayley said: “I was terrified when I came out of ICU but upon my arrival to Askham, I was reassured that everything was going to be OK and that I would return home to my family. My most memorable milestone was when I first used the rollator to walk. I thought I was going to hit the deck, but the team at Askham encouraged me to do it and I ended up walking down the corridor – it was fantastic. They even videoed the moment and sent it to my husband and children.

“During my stay, I started a journal so I could reflect on my journey and note my progress. Each day, I wrote down advice from the team and used it as motivation. Their words helped me move forward and have stayed with me to this day. I’ve been supported in every step of my journey and will be forever grateful for everything the team at Askham did for me. I’ve got so many things on my bucket list now. One of the first things I want to do is jump out of a plane to raise funds for GBS.”

Due to the severity of her condition, Hayley required specialist treatment from all of Askham Rehab’s disciplines; clinical psychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy.

Hayley needed Askham Rehab to help her after contracting a rare condition. Pics and video: Askham Rehab

Following assessments, the multidisciplinary team set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals for Hayley, who was then subsequently prescribed to a treatment programme specific to her needs.

Explaining the start of Hayley’s rehab journey, Sara Neaves, Clinical Lead and Outpatients Service Manager at Askham Rehab, said: “When Hayley first came to Askham, there were a lot of issues around her pain. Just pulling back her bedsheets caused extreme pain, and this required a lot of input from our medical and clinical psychology teams to help stabilise. I remember Hayley saying to me, ‘I’m so scared I will never be able to walk again’. I promised her she would, but we knew it was going to be a long road to recovery.”

Once her pain had stabilised, Hayley was much more engaged and able to make 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, Hayley was able to challenge her lower limbs in strength, movement, accuracy, and coordination. To help with upper limb movement, Hayley made use of the MYRO table, a sensor-based surface with interactive applications, the AMADEO, a robotics and sensor-based device for hand therapy, and the PABLO, a sensor-based rehab device for unilateral and bilateral training.

Hayley needed Askham Rehab to help her after contracting a rare condition. Pics and video: Askham Rehab

Empowered with the state-of-the-art equipment, along with sessions in the hydrotherapy pool and sensory rooms and gardens, therapists were able to improve Hayley’s condition drastically in just a matter of weeks, to the point where she was able to walk again with assistance.

Continuing with the activities the multidisciplinary team put together for her as a weekly timetable, Hayley was soon able to live independently in a self-contained, fully adapted onsite apartment. Using the space to build back her confidence through independently cooking, walking and making use of the abundant gardens and grounds, Hayley was given a departure date of March 11th – being able to fulfil her ultimate goal of arriving home to her children and husband in time for Mother’s Day.

Sara added: “From someone who could only move their fingers when they first arrived, Hayley has progressed incredibly well. Askham’s ethos is all about empowering and caring for the individual, making their journey very much patient centred. The environment here is friendly and open – we could tap into Hayley’s hobby of being out in the garden which helped lift her mood and fully engaged her in the rehab process.”

Aliyyah-Begum Nasser, Director at Askham, said: “As a family business with more than 30 years’ experience, including 10 years of neurological rehabilitation expertise, we’re able to offer the facilities to accommodate and treat people with a wide range of extensive neurological conditions. Our community prides itself on having programmes in place to ensure those staying with us will receive structured, high-quality care with a holistic approach."

For more information on Askham Rehab, please visit