David Ford’s coronavirus battle lasted 125 days overall (Picture: Jake McPherson / SWNS)

A great-grandfather who almost died with coronavirus has paid tribute to a nurse who stuck by him ‘through thick and thin’ during his 125-day battle for survival.

David Ford, 78, relied on a ventilator for a record eight weeks in Yeovil Hospital in Somerset. It is believed to be the longest time spent on a ventilator out of all UK Covid-19 patients.

The retired taxi driver, who is still recovering from his ordeal, has heaped praise on nursing assistant Hannah Legg, who remained by his side when his family was forced to stay away for their own safety.

David can’t remember being taken to hospital after he was diagnosed with an unknown virus on March 21.

He was placed on a ventilator for six weeks after doctors saw his condition quickly deteriorate.

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The pensioner said: ‘They took me off the ventilator and tried to wake me up but they couldn’t so they put me on it for another two weeks.

‘They took me off it and woke me up, I had four tubes down my throat and they rang up and told my wife they didn’t think I would make it.

‘So that was that, and I went downhill and they phoned my family up and said “I want to put another tube down his throat” and my daughter said “if it’s the only chance he’s got, yes”.


Pensioner 'unsure if he will walk again' after 125 days in hospital with coronavirus Nursing assistant Hannah Legg helped David through his darkest days.
Nursing assistant Hannah Legg helped David through his darkest days (Picture: ITV)

‘I was in hospital looking at the ceiling with no voice because they took my voice box out and all I had to look at was the ceiling.’

After the great-grandfather was left feeling lonely in hospital, he was kept sane by nursing assistant Hannah who would take her lunch breaks by his side.

David continued: ‘I had a nurse and she stuck by me thick and thin, and she was by my side while I was on the ventilator.

‘I did 128 days in the hospital living in a bed, and I was going home the next day.

‘I could barely walk, but that nurse, Hannah, stayed by my side all the time. In ICU, I couldn’t praise her enough.’

Speaking to ITV, Hannah said: ‘I remember sitting and holding his hand and thinking he was going to leave, he was extremely poorly. I still can’t believe he’s done so well. It’s really heartwarming.’

After ‘going through hell’, David is still feeling the after-effects of Covid-19 and is asking people to follow government rules and wear a mask in indoor spaces.


The retired taxi driver with activites co-ordinator Sarah Jane Ayo at Wincanton Community Hospital. Wincanton. 30 July 2020 (Picture: Jake McPherson / SWNS)

He said: ‘People should be worried about what a horrible death it could be. I nearly died of it twice.

‘I only just pulled through and I still can’t walk after 128 days and I’m still having throat treatment because it affected the muscles in my throat. If effects every muscle in your body.’

A spokesperson for Yeovil Hospital said: ‘We are extremely proud of all of our staff for the way they have risen to the challenges posed by this pandemic.

‘Hearing Mr Ford talk about the enormous difference that nursing associate Hannah Legg made to his recovery and his emotional wellbeing during his many months in ICU is wonderful and we know this is a story being played out in our hospital, and across the NHS every day.’

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Source: Metro