Margaret McAiney

Research is crucial to understanding Covid-19, says patient Margaret

“Covid’s not going to go away any time soon – the only way we’re going to understand it is to do research.”

Margaret McAiney is one of thousands of Covid-19 patients who are taking part in crucial research aiming to find an effective treatment. She says that even though she was very poorly when asked about taking part, she didn’t hesitate.

She had been taken to the Royal Oldham Hospital’s emergency department by ambulance in early June after experiencing severe breathlessness.

She has asthma but it’s well under control and she says that when she developed a cough, high temperature and increasing breathlessness, she knew straightaway that she had the condition.

She said: “It was very frightening – I really couldn’t breathe. As soon as I was taken to hospital they put me on oxygen and I had a scan and X-ray that showed I had pneumonia.

“The research team came round on the second day I was in hospital. As ill as I was, I knew how important it would be to help. I’d heard about other studies and I said to myself ‘you need to do this.’

“They were really nice and very thorough, it was reassuring. I knew the treatment I had – which was an injection in my stomach on top of the antibiotics I was already getting – had been checked and they were very clear that if I wanted to stop at any stage, I could.

“I know it might not work but at least they will know more at the end of the study and in any case, it wasn’t just about me but about the wider community.”

Margaret, from Hollinwood in Oldham, was already aware of the importance of research as she’s a ward clerk at the Royal Oldham and has worked in the NHS for more than 20 years.

But she says she appreciates it even more now that she’s been directly involved in the ACCORD study. She was able to leave hospital after a week as an in-patient but has been reassured by the detailed follow-up from the research team.

“My taste isn’t back to normal yet and my memory isn’t what it was either, so it’s been helpful to talk to the researchers when they ring me to check everything is OK. They’ve been able to reassure me that the on-going issues are normal for someone recovering from Covid – they’ve explained everything so well.”