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Coronavirus: After record time on ventilator and 52 days in ICU Redbridge man battles his way back from virus

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 May 2020

Rohit Patel spent a record amount of time on a ventilator at King George Hospital battling Covid-19. Picture: Chandni Patel

Rohit Patel spent a record amount of time on a ventilator at King George Hospital battling Covid-19. Picture: Chandni Patel

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The daughter of a Redbridge man who was in critical care for a record 52 days at King George Hospital recounted the agonising process of watching her dad slowly beat Covid-19.

Rohit is a checkout clerk at Asda and fell ill in March before the government issued lockdown. Picture: Chandni PatelRohit is a checkout clerk at Asda and fell ill in March before the government issued lockdown. Picture: Chandni Patel

On Monday, March 23 Rohit Patel started his regular 6am shift at the Asda in Leyton, where he is a checkout clerk, but had to go home after just a few hours with a bad stomach ache.

A week later he was admitted to King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, and the following day he was put on a ventilator after his oxygen levels dropped dangerously low.

That was the beginning of almost two months of anguish for him and his family as doctors struggled to keep him alive while he caught infections which attacked his organs.

Last week he was finally moved out of ICU after 52 days in critical care where he was the longest person to be on a ventilator at the hospital.

He spent 52 days in critical care but he is now on the road to recovery. Picture: Chandni PatelHe spent 52 days in critical care but he is now on the road to recovery. Picture: Chandni Patel

Daughter Chandni Patel said after a few weeks she thought her dad was improving when things took a turn for the worse.

After the doctors attempted to take him off the ventilator his condition quickly deteriorated and he caught sepsis which was attacking his lungs.

She told the Recorder: “The doctor said all the odds are against him and to prepare for the worst.

“It was a very scary moment.

“Thankfully they did all they could, giving him antibiotics and medicine and my dad fighting as hard as he could.”

Rohit recovered from that episode but Chandni said it was “back to square one” and he then suffered multiple bacterial infections.

On April 28 the nurses set up a Zoom video call where Rohit was able to wave to his family and his wife Harshila was finally able to see him.

Chandni said: “It’s been really hard for my mum because the two of them are always together.

“For her to wake up and to not have him there has been very stressful for her so she got very down.”

Rohit and Harshila have three children and four grandchildren.

Rohit has a special relationship with Chandni’s daughter Maya, three, who is his youngest grandchild.

Chandni said: “As soon as he was awake, the first thing we wanted was to get him to talk to her on the phone because we knew that would make him happy.”

Throughout his illness Chandni said she stopped watching the news “because it was so depressing thinking that my dad could be one of the names in the middle of all these figures”.

Before coronavirus, apart from having high blood pressure Rohit was very healthy.

A week before he got ill after he picked Maya up from school Chandni told her dad she probably wouldn’t see him for a while because lockdown was imminent but she had no idea how ill he was about to get.

She said that if lockdown measures were in place sooner her dad might not have fallen ill.

“He worked at a supermarket before there was any social distancing measures, screen protectors or hand sanitisers in place - all the things that are common now.”

On May 22 Rohit was clapped off the ICU ward by his nurses and doctors and though his family is relieved he’s recovering, sadly he’ll never be the same.

He is learning to swallow again and all of his muscles have deteriorated since he’s been sedated for so long.

Chandni said: “He will never be back to normal because his lungs are severely damaged.

“He is always going to suffer from this virus.

“Currently he has his up and downs but he is very strong and with the help of his doctors and nurses he is keeping the fighting spirit.”

“We are extremely grateful to the nurses and doctors who are looking after him and helping him recover.

“He is in best place he can be.”


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