A critical care nurse from Melbourne, Australia, went above and beyond the call of duty for a Down syndrome patient who was infected with COVID-19. Sarah Kelly was placed in intensive care and on a ventilator after her oxygen levels plummeted dramatically. The 22-year-old was admitted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in late July after contracting coronavirus.
Sarah refused to wear a nasal cannula for oxygen, despite her caregivers’ best efforts. After refusing to use the tubes, she inhaled oxygen through a straw. She had Down syndrome and was perplexed as to why she needed to keep them in her nose.Steven Moylan, Sarah’s critical care nurse, reasoned that he had no choice but to assist her. After noticing Sarah’s fondness for The Wiggles, an Australian children’s music group, he considered approaching them for assistance.
Steven, who has an autistic brother, decided to contact The Wiggles and ask if they could record a personalized video about how to use oxygen tubes. Steven hoped that seeing her idols use the tubes would persuade Sarah to wear hers in order to save her life. “It was critical that we got her to do it because it could have meant the difference between success and failure off the ventilator,” he said.Steven had no idea how to contact The Wiggles directly at first.
He spent a week contacting them, sending dozens of emails, and calling 35 times via their website, the ABC, and a friend who worked at the Starlight Children’s Foundation. He eventually turned to Google, where he discovered a private phone number on a fan website. The phone number belonged to a fan who provided Steven with an email address associated with The Wiggles.He eventually got through to the musical group.
Sarah’s story moved them, and they agreed to Steven’s video request.”Anthony and I just jumped in our cars, met at the studio, and we just recorded and filmed this quick video for Sarah to help alleviate the fear she had,” Simon explained. “As the Wiggles, we are more than happy to take that on board and do whatever we can.”
Sarah had fallen into a coma by this point due to her body’s increased need for oxygen.
Sarah needed to feel more at ease with the nasal cannula and her breathing exercises, so Blue Wiggle Anthony Field and Red Wiggle Simon Pryce shot a video with a dummy Dorothy the Dinosaur using the hospital equipment Steven had sent to their studio. In the video, the band made sure to say exactly what Sarah needed to hear. “We thought we could present it to Sarah as if we were her friends, and we do it in a way that makes it less scary,” Anthony explained.
The Wiggles performed a special song for Sarah and demonstrated wearing the nasal prongs, instructing her to take deep breaths as she did so. Sarah watched the video made for her by The Wiggles after waking up from her coma in early August. It also worked! Sarah began putting on her oxygen tubes and wore them all day. She also began her breathing exercises.
Sarah’s condition improved almost immediately, and she was soon discharged from the ICU. She’s been in the hospital for five weeks, three of which she was in a medically induced coma. Sarah’s miraculous recovery benefited not only Steven but also the rest of the hospital staff. Her story was exactly what they needed: some good news in the midst of this terrible pandemic.
Steven appreciates The Wiggles taking the time to film the video for his patient. But the critical care nurse deserves all of the credit for the band. “He’s been in the ICU and fighting COVID for the past 18 months, but he was still able to think outside the box and consider someone’s personal circumstance,” Simon explained.
It’s wonderful to see how this collaborative effort turned out! Sarah is now back on her feet, thanks to the good people who saved her life.
More on this story can be found in the video below from 9 News Australia.