A trainee nurse whose husband has been recovering from coronavirus at the hospital where she works has thanked her colleagues for saving his life.
Father-of-two Omar Taylor has spent the past six weeks fighting the illness at Colchester General Hospital in Essex.
After he was intubated, put in a coma and suffered a stroke, his wife Kaitlyn was told to prepare for the worst.
However, the 31-year-old has made “miraculous” progress and is due to be sent home to continue his recovery.
“At one point the doctors were telling me that Omar might not make it. Now they have said he can come home in the next few days and it honestly just feels like a miracle,” Mrs Taylor said.
Mr Taylor, who is a regional director of Care UK, developed a fever and cough on 10 March. He was aware he might be at risk of contracting coronavirus because of his work in care homes and because he takes immunosuppressants for ulcerative colitis.
He went to hospital with shortness of breath a few days later but was discharged and told to self-isolate away from his wife and two young children.
After struggling at home for a week, he returned to hospital by ambulance and was put in a coma. He spent 20 days on a ventilator in intensive care, where he had a double stroke.
“I kept asking doctors if he was going to survive but all they could say was that they would try their best. I was just waiting for a phone call to tell me he wasn’t going to make it,” Mrs Taylor said.
Doctors managed to stabilise him and weaned him off the sedation. One day he managed to smile at his family when they phoned him on FaceTime.
“That was an amazing moment. It was the first time he responded to us, and it gave us so much hope,” said Mrs Taylor, who has been studying to become a nurse and works at the hospital as a health care assistant.
He was later transferred to a stroke unit, where the couple were able to finally see each other through a window.
“We were both crying. I could not believe he had made it out of intensive care,” she said.
“The doctors couldn’t believe it either. He was the first patient at the hospital to successfully come off a ventilator and the first patient to make it out of intensive care.”
On 22 April, the family were finally reunited at the hospital for an hour, and Mrs Taylor said her husband, who was born in Dubai but moved to England aged two, was “overwhelmed with happiness”.
Mrs Taylor is from the US and their family all live abroad, so she has relied on friends and people in their village of Rowhedge, near Colchester, for support.
“The whole village has come together, it has been incredible. One of my best friends set up a fundraising page and we are just so grateful,” she said.
Mr Taylor has been left with minimal speech and mobility but can still understand everything. He will soon start an intensive rehabilitation programme at home.
“I know he will need a lot of help but he will get there, he is so determined. I’m so proud of him, he’s a warrior,” his wife said.
“I just want to thank my colleagues, they have taken exceptional care of Omar, and I can’t wait to get back there and join them.”