A cardiac arrest, coronavirus and confusion — Seven Kings dad tells his story

Seven Kings' resident Nav Kalley - pictured here with wife Kiren - has spoken out about his recent e

Seven Kings' resident Nav Kalley - pictured here with wife Kiren - has spoken out about his recent experience with coronavirus, as he continues his recovery from a cardiac arrest suffered in early September. Picture: Nav Kalley - Credit: Archant

The past two months have been a whirlwind for Nav Kalley and his family.

In a world dogged by a deadly pandemic, few understand the margins between life and death better than the Seven Kings resident.

For 14 minutes on September 5, the 53-year-old was “out” after suffering a serious cardiac arrest. Brought back from the brink, Nav’s recovery should have been his sole priority.

Yet he and his family have since faced a coronavirus headache that has left them with more questions than answers.

Speaking to the Recorder just after his birthday, Nav’s tone is one of gratitude after his close brush with death. It’s also one of confusion. His medical records will show that, in the past two months, he has had a cardiac arrest and tested positive for coronavirus.

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But he then tested negative three days later.

On September 5 Nav was transferred from Goodmayes’ King George Hospital to St Bartholomew’s after suffering a cardiac arrest.

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He recalls being tested for Covid-19 at St Bart’s, though doesn’t remember being told the result. Barts Health NHS Trust has since confirmed that he was negative, highlighting that in-patients are only notified if they test positive.

Nav was discharged from St Bart’s on September 9, only to return to King George Hospital 11 days later with recurring chest pains.

As is customary, he was tested again for Covid-19 on September 21. This time the result showed positive result.

He said: “I was very surprised with this as I not been anywhere due to my heart condition. So I booked a test for September 24, as did my wife and four kids.”

All six tests taken at the Barking Football Club centre came back negative, leaving the Kalley family with a conundrum. Isolate – on the basis of a positive test shrouded in doubt – or live life as normal, based on the negative results received on September 25.

To help decide, Nav and his wife Kiren sought out the experts. Yet a series of hugely frustrating conversations with 111 and Test & Trace served only to muddy the waters, and create another problem.

On September 25 Kiren called 111, who eventually returned her call around 1.45am the following morning (September 26).

That call advised that they didn’t need to self-isolate.

Later that Saturday, Kiren was contacted by Test & Trace on a separate issue. After explaining the situation, she was told that the previous advice was wrong, and that the family did have to self-isolate.

Confusion reigned in the Kalley household, with the family forced to wait until Monday, September 28 for clarity. On that day a “helpful” lady from 111 urged Kiren to call 119, who reiterated the need to self-isolate.

So, they did, all six of them, right up until October 6.

As a “diligent family”, both Nav and Kiren deemed it important to do their part.

But understanding that importance doesn’t temper the frustration that surrounds their isolation, which, as Nav explained, came at a price.

“My youngest son missed out on trials for England U19s in cricket, which were scheduled for the weekend of September 25. He was one of only 26 chosen to go – it’s a shame he couldn’t.”

He added: “I have to be honest and say it put added pressure on me and my wife following my cardiac arrest.

“We wanted to do the right thing, and we did, but we also wanted to be given correct and consistent information.”

When contacted, BHRUT reiterated the positive finding from Nav’s test on September 23 at King George Hospital, but added: “No test is 100 per cent accurate and we know that with Covid the quality of the swab-taking also affects the result.”

The dad of four said he hopes that “there’s a lesson to be learned” from his experience, in terms of how the public are advised.

Now out of self-isolation, Nav simply wishes to continue recovering, family firmly by his side.

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