The family of a doctor from Edinburgh has told how Covid “ruined” her health to the point where she took her own life.
Professor Fiona Denison tragically died on Saturday (January 8) at the age of 51 after contracting the virus twice during the pandemic.
A leading consultant obstetrician with NHS Lothian, Fiona had suffered a terrible period of ill health after first catching Covid at the beginning of the pandemic.
Her loved ones have severely damaged her mental and physical health and have shared the nightmare test in the hopes that it will help others.
As the mother of two sons, James and David, Fiona first became ill with coronavirus in March 2020 and unfortunately developed a number of complications around her breathing.
Admitted to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, she spent an entire week alone in isolation while being treated.
Despite recovering from the virus, after returning home, Fiona began to experience frightening flashbacks about her time in the hospital as well as severe anxiety.
Talking to Herald, her husband Gordon Taylor explained that her stress disorder turned into a depression when Fiona was admitted to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital just months later.
He said: “If Fiona’s story is able to shed another light on the critical importance of mental health and through this help others, then she would feel that it is a fitting legacy along with the enormous contribution she made through her clinical and medical research roles, as well as in her private life. “
“Eventually she was diagnosed with a suicide risk and admitted to Royal Edinburgh Hospital in the summer of 2020.
It was during her treatment there that she discovered the therapeutic benefits of art, which blossomed into the beautiful paintings with which she delighted friends and family.
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“Her condition improved and she was able to return home, but Covid took another toll on her health by aggravating an pre-existing condition she had with her digestive system, which was also affected by the medication she was taking for to help with his depression. “
Despite having surgery to help her digestion, Fiona’s problems continued, leaving her forced to leave her clinical work permanently.
When she was no longer able to retain her medical role, the 51-year-old’s mental health declined sharply again and got even worse over Christmas when she caught Covid again.
Sir. Taylor continued: “Being readmitted to the hospital was traumatic as it brought back all the memories of struggling to breathe while in isolation.
“She had steeled herself for the surgery given the traumatic memories a return to the hospital environment held for her, but was also hoping this would be a positive step forward.”
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“As Fiona put it to friends and family, ‘I never seem to take a break.’
“Ultimately, it seems that the combined toll Covid took on both her mental and physical health turned out to be too much to bear. Fiona’s suicide is a stark reminder that mental health is a very fragile and rapidly changing thing. , and mental illness can be devastating, even when it is good … supported by family, friends and professional services. ”
Destroyed and shocked by the sudden loss, tributes have since been poured in to Fiona, with many hoping that their friend and colleague is now a “better place.”
Professor Denison’s work in her chosen field was far-reaching. She worked to prevent deaths and premature births across the UK and worked with her peers in Uganda with the aim of improving births there and in other low- and middle-income countries.
Donations in memory of Professor Fiona Denison can be made to Edinburgh and the Lothians Health Foundation here.
If you have been affected by any of the issues covered in this story or need help, please contact the Samaritans in Edinburgh. You can call for free from any phone on 116 123 or go to The Samaritans’ Website for more information.