Ray Connor, 67, from Peterlee, was admitted to Sunderland Royal Hospital on January 10 with breathing difficulties and went on to become its longest Covid-19 patient after spending 73 days in the Integrated Critical Care Unit (ICCU).
During his time in the unit, Ray suffered from a series of infections, multi-organ failure, required the use of a dialysis machine and ventilator and was even in a two month coma.
Hospital staff were so concerned for his condition, Ray’s family were called in three times to say goodbye when it was feared he would not survive.
However, following a miraculous recovery, Ray has now recently moved from the hospital to a care home where his rehabilitation is continuing as he works towards heading home.
He said: “When I got in the ambulance, I thought I would be in hospital for a couple of days and I was anxious to get home, but I never expected what happened. When I woke up two-months later from a coma, I just felt as though I’d been asleep overnight.
“My wife has gone through hell with all the trauma, as well as all my family. It’s not just the doctors and nurses who looked after me but every single person who works on that ward has played a part, it’s off the scale the dedication they show.”
After coming out of the coma, Ray was delighted to be able to see his wife Marjorie, 65 and the rest of his family.
Before falling ill, Ray, a former lifeguard, felt well and swam a mile three times a week.
To celebrate his recovery, a chippy tea was brought in especially by staff as he started to regain his appetite.
Dr Pete Hersey is among the staff who helped care for Ray on ICCU.
He said: “Ray has had a stormy journey and there were several times when we didn’t think he would survive.
“He saw moving to the ward as a very positive step and as a team, we were really pleased to see him make that progress.