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‘THANK YOU FOR MY LIFE’

A patient who spent nearly three weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 has thanked Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for saving his life.  Ken Wood was cared for at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for 19 days after being rushed to hospital with a high temperature and difficulty breathing. The 60-year-old received ventilator treatment on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for 13 days, and his two daughters were put on compassionate leave to support his wife, Helen. Thankfully, Ken’s condition improved and he was moved to the COVID-19 recovery ward. He was well enough to be discharged following an occupational health assessment and review of his home living situation. Ken, from Abingdon, is recovering well. He has been doing breathing exercises and is able to do gentle strengthening exercises and go for up to 40-minute walks. However, he still requires a lot of rest, and is receiving support from an ICU counsellor after experiencing nightmares and disturbing hallucinations.

Ken, who lost around 12kg during his stay in hospital, praised the nurses and doctors at the Trust who cared for him, thanking them for saving him and giving him a second chance at life. He said: “For 13 days, staff laboured with professionalism and care over my feeble ventilated body. I experienced several days of recovery with the same team’s gentleness, empathy, and encouragement. “I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the NHS – all those that cared for me – for my life. They have made such an amazing difference for me, my family, and close friends.

“Thanks to the care I received, I am restored to my family and community. I will never forget what has been done for me, and what staff continue to do for others. I send my sincerest thanks and heartfelt gratitude.” He added: “I believe I have a second chance at life: a second chance to better appreciate my blessings, a second chance to show thankfulness and gratitude, a second chance to address my true priorities and show and reflect love and compassion in my life to others. “The reunion with my loving family was extraordinarily special as tears of joy flowed from all our eyes. To my disappointment, though, the dog did not recognise me or my smell so just walked off. “It will take time but I am looking forward to getting back in the pool to swim and being able to go out for a run with the dog.”

Ken’s youngest daughter, Laura, an ICU Nurse at a separate Trust, kept a diary of the daily updates from the ICU team and explained to him what nurses and doctors had to do to keep him alive.

He said: “Reading it on my return made me shudder with fear knowing my oxygen levels had dropped to critically low levels a couple of times, risking other major complications. However, I recognise I had been placed in the care of truly professional hands. I cannot thank the John Radcliffe staff enough.

“As a man of faith, I’d also like to thank my friends and family for their continued prayers and comfort during this difficult time.”

Professor Meghana Pandit, Chief Medical Officer at the Trust, said: “We are so pleased that Ken recovered, was well enough to be discharged from hospital, and is able to continue his recovery back home with his family. We hope he feels more like himself as soon as possible. “The response from OUH staff to this pandemic has been superb, and I’d like to thank them for their continued dedication and tireless work at this time as we continue to offer compassionate, excellent care for our patients.”