Covid patient who spent 80 days in hospital fighting virus shares touching message

Derek Walsh, 65, is reliving his time in the Covid hospital wards when he was near death and has decided to share his story to encourage others to get vaccinated

Derek Walsh
Derek Walsh has been in a coma during his 80 day Covid hospital stay and has a message to share after pulling through

A man who nearly died while spending nearly three months in hospital has shared his harrowing story as he delivered an emotional message to fellow Covid patients.

Derek Walsh, 65, was first admitted to the Bradford Royal Infirmary in October 2020 with a severe headache and difficulty breathing.

He stayed there for 80 days – and nearly died in the wards when his kidneys and lungs were severely damaged by the virus. YorkshireLive Report.

Now he’s reliving his agony in hopes of encouraging others to get vaccinated.

While Derek was initially being treated in the Covid-19 ward, his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to the intensive care unit, where he was placed on ventilation and in an induced coma.

Covid almost killed him – and his personal message aims to make sure others get their jabs


Yorkshire Live WS)

In December, Derek became ill with sepsis and his wife Sue was told the devastating news that he might not survive. However, the doctors promised to do everything to save him.

Luckily, he survived to tell the story of his extraordinary experience – and he went on to write an account of his health struggle.

Personal Around the Wards in 80 Days: A Covid survivor’s story tells how Derek spent more than ten weeks in Bradford Royal Infirmary and Airedale Hospital.

He has continued to require support from the NHS since his release after his kidneys and lungs were damaged by the virus.

“I still have symptoms of Long Covid and am experiencing a lot of different feelings and emotions, but overall I’m very happy and glad to be alive,” Derek said.

He continued, “I am sincerely grateful to every single person who has been involved in all of my care and treatment, whether direct or indirect, frontline or background, both past, present and future, because without you all the outcome of This Story could have been very different.

“The unwavering dedication to care and treatment from you all throughout my journey far exceeded the expected performance of duty and I am and will forever be in your debt for all the blood, sweat, tears and care you gave everyone gives their patients, not just me.”

Derek said that writing his experiences helped him understand some of his memories and made him realize how lucky he was to be alive.

Derek shared all about ‘Around the Wards in 80 Days: A Covid Survivor’s Story’


Yorkshire Live WS)

“I hope it will boost the morale of NHS staff because I’ve seen first hand what they put into caring for people and I appreciate it 100 per cent,” he said. “I also hope it helps other people. If it just encourages one person to get vaccinated against this virus, then I’m happy.”

Sue, a retired HR manager, said both were scared of catching Covid after Derek’s experience but they are now enjoying their retirement together and taking walks in the sea air at their holiday home in Hornsea.

“I went through 80 days and nights of fear, worry and stress,” Sue said. “Visits were limited but the staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary were fantastic and kept me updated every day.

“When they told me they didn’t think he would make it, I sat at home alone and prayed. I’m not a religious person, but I prayed. I was the happiest woman in the world when he started to recover.”

The couple also chose to donate to the teams that delivered Derek’s life-saving treatment.

When the couple received an unexpected tax break, they agreed that they would give £1,000 to the Bradford Hospitals charity (to be split between Intensive Care and Kidney Units) and £1,000 to Airedale Hospital, where Derek also spent some time .

“I want the money to be spent on the little extras that make a big difference,” Derek said. “For example, at the beginning of my rehabilitation they gave me a treadmill, but I could only use it for a limited time because other patients needed it. Items like this that are not routinely paid for by the NHS and funded by the NHS charity make a real difference.”

The kidney consultant Dr. Mansoor Ali, who cared for Derek while he was in hospital and now in his clinic, said: “This story is truly remarkable and it goes on to tell you that COVID is here, COVID is real, COVID exists and COVID is affecting people and causes life-changing complications, but thanks to the NHS, their resilient staff and management, we have been able to provide excellent care to our patients and see them recover from it.”

Hayley Collis, Head of Fundraising for the Bradford Hospitals charity, said: “We have been blown away by Derek’s extraordinary story of resilience and recovery.

“I know I speak for all my NHS colleagues when I say how delighted we are to hear he is doing so well now. We always appreciate feedback from our grateful patients and cannot thank him enough for his generous donation.

“As Derek says, it’s the extras that often make a huge difference and that’s where our NHS charity comes in. Our charity enables Bradford Teaching Hospitals to do more for patients and staff. We fund additional equipment, training, research and projects to enable staff to provide the best possible care and treatment.

“We also provide funds for our trust to bring devices to the highest specification. We believe the people of Bradford deserve the very best and it is only through the generosity of grateful patients like Derek that we can help all of our patients and families. ”

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