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Aged care worker struck down with coronavirus in a Melbourne hospital now relies on oxygen

An aged care worker battling coronavirus in a Melbourne hospital after she was left gasping for air says she was ‘gambling’ her own life for her patients. 

Maria Bradford, a personal care assistant at Estia Aged Care in Ardeer, began to suffer sudden COVID-19 symptoms after arriving home from work last Wednesday. 

The 48-year-old had returned negative results for her twice weekly coronavirus tests and did not have a temperature. 

But Ms Bradford’s condition quickly deteriorated on the night of Wednesday August 5 and her fiance Robert Smith was forced to phone for an ambulance.

Maria Bradford, a personal care assistant at Estia Aged Care in Ardeer, is being treated for coronavirus in hospital

Maria Bradford, a personal care assistant at Estia Aged Care in Ardeer, is being treated for coronavirus in hospital 

Ms Bradford was taken to hospital on Wednesday August 5 after she was unable to breathe

Ms Bradford was taken to hospital on Wednesday August 5 after she was unable to breathe

‘Maria works in aged care, caring for the elderly. On Wednesday she had a severe asthma episode. Her medication wasn’t working at all,’ Mr Smith told The Philippine Times.

‘I called for an ambulance, and she was struggling to breathe and was burning up. Prior to this there were no real symptoms.’ 

Ms Bradford, a mother who has worked in aged care for 20 years, is receiving treatment in Melbourne’s Sunshine Hospital in St. Albans. Mr Smith said she remains on oxygen around the clock.  

Victoria is currently battling 7,869 active COVID-19 infections, with 1,765 active cases related to aged care facilities. There are 146 coronavirus cases associated with Estia Aged Care Facility in Ardeer.

Ms Bradford speaks to her partner Robert Smith via a video call. He cannot visit her in hospital

Ms Bradford speaks to her partner Robert Smith via a video call. He cannot visit her in hospital

Of the record 19 deaths reported in the state on Monday, 14 patients were linked to outbreaks in aged care facilities. 

Ms Bradford, who described her COVID-19 infection as a ‘killer’, has now learned the extent of the dangers being on the frontline.   

‘I am always there for my patients — I love them with my own heart,’ Ms Bradford told The Herald Sun.

‘I am gambling my life for them.’

Ms Bradford returned a positive coronavirus test the day after she was admitted into hospital. She was advised by doctors her lung capacity was at just 40 per cent.  

‘I am so short of breath. It just got me so quick. It’s very vicious,’ she said.

There are concerns for Ms Bradford’s health as she has both asthma and diabetes. 

Ms Bradford has not been able to see Mr Smith since she was admitted into hospital but the couple communicate via video calls. 

Mr Smith said his partner has put her health at risk for her job and her loved ones are praying for her recovery. 

Mr Smith (left) was forced to call for an ambulance last Wednesday after Ms Bradford's condition quickly deteriorated

Mr Smith (left) was forced to call for an ambulance last Wednesday after Ms Bradford’s condition quickly deteriorated 

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