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A doctor at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in London said Andrew Watts was once 'one of the sickest Covid patients' they'd ever seen, and on numerous occasions, it was feared that he wouldn't pull through.
But the 40-year-old was discharged and returned to his home in Dartford on 21 October - 300 days after he was first admitted.
The dad-of-two spent eight months in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) - one of the longest stays ever for any patient at QEH - and was in an induced coma for five weeks, facing five episodes of life-threatening lung collapse as a result of Covid pneumonia.
Recalling how his terrifying ordeal began, Andrew said, as per the Evening Standard: "A week before Christmas 2020, I started to feel ill. I wasn't eating and I was losing weight, but I thought it was just the anxiety getting to me.
"When I was admitted to hospital with Covid I initially responded well to treatment, but then my oxygen levels started to drop and I was taken for a CT scan. That was when I was told that I had a pneumothorax, which is a split on the lung.
"I was on my own as this was the height of Covid, with no visitors allowed, so it was a lot to take in. By this point I was crying my eyes out, on the phone to my sister Hannah and my wife Hayley, but I didn't want to tell my mum or my dad. I couldn't bring myself to tell them."
Prior to contracting Covid-19, Andrew was diagnosed with lymph cancer in October 2019, but chemotherapy treatment had been successful and he was in remission and back at work as a decorator.
But fast-forward to January and Covid had prompted his condition to deteriorate rapidly. He was placed in a coma and his family were told he was gravely ill; the following month, they were told his lungs had deteriorated so badly they may have to turn his ventilator off.
Thankfully his lungs improved and in June he was taken off the ventilator and his family were able to visit - but being on it so long meant he had to learn to talk and walk again and could only communicate with a stick.
"I kept thinking 'why me?'. It was very hard to stay positive," he said.
"But I remembered how when I was going through my chemotherapy I was told to look forward, set myself little goals and when I'd achieved them set myself another one. So that's what I did."
Cruelly, his left lung and a third of his right lung suddenly collapsed again and he had to be put in another induced coma.
But eventually, staff were able to take him out of ICU and move him to a ward, before eventually saying bye to him completely, with doctors, nurses, physios and speech and language therapists clapping him as he left the building.
Andrew said: "The care has been fantastic but my journey is nowhere near finished yet. Going home is one major goal, but then that just starts another road in my recovery. I started walking just four weeks ago, and my next goal is to walk to my son's school and back by Christmas."
Dr Dan Harding, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine, said: "We are all really proud and pleased that Andrew has finally been able to go home after 10 months in hospital.
"He was one of the sickest Covid patients we've seen, so to see him walking out of the hospital with his family was a very happy and emotional day for me and all the other staff involved in his care."
Featured Image Credit: Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust
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