An eight-year-old who spent weeks in intensive care fighting Covid-19 has been saved by ‘amazing’ NHS medics.
Kennedy Mercer, sister of Towie star Kelsey Stratford, spent three weeks fighting for her life in hospital after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
The eight-year-old has a rare condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) making her especially vulnerable to the virus.
Thanks to incredible medics at Great Ormond Street in London though, they managed to save Kennedy’s life.
Her father, Paul Mercer, and wife Jeanette, told The Mirror that she would not have survived without the care she received.
The 42-year-old added he was stunned by the Government’s recent one per cent pay rise offer, which sparked anger from many who felt it was a measly reward for NHS workers.
“It’s an insult,” Paul said.
“They do an amazing job at the best of times, in a global pandemic they’re putting their lives on the line.
“A lot of people, including Kennedy, wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the support of NHS staff. If there was any industry that has shown they deserve a pay rise, the NHS has done it the hard way.”
“We owe them everything”
Kennedy, whose twin brother Karter died from Type 1 SMA at just five months old, was admitted to hospital in October after falling ill.
At the time, medics couldn’t tell the parents if their daughter would survive, as the virus began to affect her.
“They were in an airtight room with someone who had this deadly virus, the commitment they showed was amazing,” Paul said.
“They not only kept her alive, but they supported me too. These guys must have been shattered, they were doing 12 hour shifts and moving between days and nights.
“To be able to keep the focus and enthusiasm to save lives and also offer the mental support to families is incredible.
“We owe them everything in my view, they’re all heroes, and their sacrifices should be rewarded.”
When Paul heard that the government offered a one per cent pay rise to doctors and nurses, he couldn’t believe it.
“I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” he said.
“There was an expectation they would be properly rewarded. The Prime Minister personally had been treated as well as members of the cabinet and their families.
“You’d have thought that would have shown them how hard it is.
“It shouldn’t just be about emotion, but emotion should be part of the story.”
Describing Kennedy’s battle, he said: “We didn’t know if she was going to make it.
“She went through a torrid time, it literally impacted her whole body. It was awful to watch.
“The doctors told us they were changing the antibiotics they were giving her, and that it needed to work because there was nothing else they could do.”
“This is my strong little girl, she doesn’t deserve any of this”
Kennedy fell ill in late October – despite her family doing everything possible to shield her, from taking weekly tests to separating her five-year-old sister Marli who returned to school in the summer.
After catching the virus, Kennedy’s temperature soared and she went on to develop pneumonia and sepsis.
As her condition worsened, medics told the family to prepare for the worst.
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Sadly, they were not the only family’s with children who were seriously ill with Covid, with Paul saying there were many others in Great Ormond Street Hospital.
At the time, TOWIE star Kelsey posted on Instagram about her sister’s fight: “We are all so heartbroken as Kennedy has severe breathing problems from her terminal illness SMA as it is.
“So this is very dangerous for her.”
She added: “She is in intensive care but really fighting like she always does, so i just need everyone to keep her in your prayers and hopefully she gets through this my strong little girl she doesn’t deserve any of this.”
Harrowing pictures show the little girl fighting for life as her temperature soared past 104F, when course after course of drugs failed to make an impact.
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In terms of the NHS pay rise, the Prime Minister has faced calls to increase the pay offer for NHS staff, after insisting one per cent is all No 10 can “afford”.
Campaign group EveryDoctor founder Dr Julia Patterson added: “NHS staff are disappointed, tired and angered by the Government’s derisory and insulting offer of just 1%.
“It’s scandalous after health service staff have suffered massive real terms pay cuts since 2010.”