Tears as Portland man who ‘nearly died five times’ in Covid-19 battle is discharged
HOSPITAL worker who battled coronavirus at Dorset County Hospital and nearly died five times has finally been released – leaving applause and tears in an emotional farewell from staff who treated him .
A fundraising campaign is now underway to buy a mobility scooter for Jamie Pritchard, due to the effects of Covid which left him with only 25% of lung capacity.
There has been a wave of wishes and donations made for the 49-year-old during his battle with Covid-19, with more than £ 2,000 raised so far.
Mr Pritchard, of Portland, was diagnosed with Covid on January 24 after going to hospital with chest pain and high respiratory rate.
His condition suddenly deteriorated and he was transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit to improve his breathing and was eventually placed in a induced coma and on a ventilator.
Woman says husband could die in ‘complex’ coronavirus battle
His wife, Julie, also 49, has been ordered to “prepare for the worst” by doctors.
She said: “He needed maximum oxygen, so in the early hours of February 8, they decided that Jamie should be placed in a medically induced coma and was ventilated with a tube down his throat.
“On February 10, the doctor told me Jamie’s lungs were so bad he had seen patients with so much damage fail to cope, so prepare for the worst and let the family know and the friends.
“But his lungs started to respond to the treatment.”
After seeking advice from St Thomas’ Hospital in London, staff created a treatment plan for Mr Pritchard, who saw his condition start to improve and allow him to remove a ventilator.
Mr Pritchard underwent a tracheostomy to wean him off the sedation, but by that time his lungs were “damaged and severely scarred by Covid.” The pressure from the ventilator caused a hole to form in his lung, causing it to collapse and requiring life-saving surgery at Southampton General Hospital.
Ms Pritchard was told her husband might not even survive the trip from Dorchester to Southampton – let alone the operation itself.
She said: “I was told at this point that without this surgery he had less than a 50% chance of surviving and it was decreasing daily.
“If he had desaturated, he would have had a few minutes – not enough time for me to go upstairs and say goodbye.
“I was told that there would be a risk he would not make the trip from Dorchester to Southampton and that if he did, he might not survive the operation. But he did both.
“This was the turning point in his trip, but his lungs are so damaged that he only has 25 percent of the combined lung capacity working, so he needs oxygen all the time.
“He’s at risk of getting holes in his lungs, which he’s done twice since the operation.
“He almost died five times – it was pretty bad”
Ms Pritchard said doctors told her the case was “the most complex Covid patient they’ve had in the southwest”.
“He almost died five times – it was pretty bad,” Pritchard added.
“People told us he might not survive this.”
It is hoped that his lungs will recover in time, but Jamie has also been placed on the waiting list for a double lung transplant.
He now needs help with simple daily tasks and his mobility is limited due to his difficulty in breathing.
“He needs a lot of help with tasks we all take for granted, but Jamie has adapted very well to his situation,” added Ms. Pritchard.
“I am so proud of him and to be able to call him my husband.
“I want to say a big thank you to the ICU staff and the Moreton service staff for supporting me and Jamie. We also want to thank friends and family for their love and support.”
Over £ 2,000 raised for popular former employee
A JustGiving page was set up by an employee of Doonans – where Mr. Pritchard previously worked – to support Mr. Pritchard and buy him a mobility scooter.
With an initial fundraising target of £ 800, the sum has already been surpassed with over £ 2,100 raised through around 100 donations.
Ms Pritchard called the donations and support “overwhelming” and revealed that she would buy two scooters to ensure her husband can still shop, visit his favorite local spots and more.
A spokesperson for Doonans said: “The response from the audience has been fantastic.
“We had so many offers to get people to buy his mobility scooter outright that we were overwhelmed by the generosity of people in Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester.”
To donate to fundraising, click on this link.