Coronavirus survivors: Life after recovering and leaving hospital

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  • You may have seen the videos on social media in recent weeks: NHS staff lining up to clap coronavirus patients as they finally leave hospital. There are cheers, tears and applause. Moments of joy for patients and staff during an extremely difficult time.

    The Telegraph spoke to four people who were hospitalised with coronavirus and who were all clapped out of hospital by NHS staff. 

    What is it like to be hospitalised with Covid-19? How does it feel to be applauded as you make your way home? Does the experience make you reflect on your life?

    Caroline Maguire, from Hereford, is an intensive care nurse for Wye Valley NHS Trust. She spent 18 days in hospital with Covid-19 in April, 12 of them in intensive care. She didn’t go on a ventilator but needed oxygen. 

    Being clapped out of hospital was an emotional experience, according to Caroline: “I was completely overwhelmed. It just makes you realise that as much as people are saying nurses are NHS heroes, I wouldn’t be here talking to you today if I hadn’t had their care.”

    She says that her experience of coronavirus and recovering has given her time to reflect. “Value you the people around you. Never take anything for granted. I’ll never take anything for granted again because, I would never in my wildest dreams have thought that I would be in the position that I was in.”

    Maureen Deuchars, from Dundee, was hospitalised with coronavirus on 29 March. She spent 19 days in intensive care on a ventilator. She was finally discharged on 13 May, after 45 days in hospital. NHS staff lined the corridor and applauded as she left. “When they took us down and they were all lined up there, I said ‘thank you very much’. I really didn’t know what to say. I said, ‘you’ve been all awful good to me and I appreciate it because you’ve helped me get home.’ It was really good.”

    Alex Flashwood, from Dudley, is a paramedic with the West Midlands Ambulance Service. He was in hospital with coronavirus for six days. He was discharged from Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley on 23 April. “I think I do just hug my kids a little bit tighter. It’s all about family. Everybody can work until they drop, but you’ve got to enjoy the time that you’ve got here with your family and your friends. That’s what I’m planning on doing.”

    Lee Seddon, from Salford, spent just over five weeks in hospital with Covid-19. He was in intensive care for 17 days and he was put on a ventilator. The consultant spoke to his wife, Rachel, and told her that Lee had “slim hopes”. But he got through intensive care and was discharged from Salford Royal Hospital on 6 May. “I was just thankful to be seeing daylight again to be honest”. “I’ve definitely got a different outlook on life, but I’m just trying to take every day as it comes at the minute.”

    Watch the video to hear the Covid-19 experiences of Maureen, Lee, Caroline and Alex.

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    In This Story: Covid-19

    Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

    Symptoms of coronavirus

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

    • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
    • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
    • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

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