Dad learns to walk and talk again after being one of UK’s ‘sickest’ Covid patients

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Andrew Watts from Bexley, south London was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital during Christmas last year. Mr Watts, 40, ended up staying in the hospital for far longer than anyone expected.

According to MyLondon, the patient spent eight months in intensive care and a further two months on a ward, amounting to 300 days in total.

Calls were made to Mr Watts’s family after a five-week induced coma and a life-threatening lung collapse worried doctors so much that they called loved ones to inform them that they were considering turning his ventilator completely off.

Speaking about first becoming ill, Mr Watts said: “A week before Christmas 2020, I started to feel ill.

“I wasn’t eating and I was losing weight, but I thought it was just the anxiety getting to me.

“When I was admitted to hospital with Covid I initially responded well to treatment, but then my oxygen levels started to drop and I was taken for a CT scan.

“That was when I was told that I had a pneuomothorax, which is a split on the lung.

“I was on my own as this was the height of Covid, with no visitors allowed, so it was a lot to take in.

“By this point I was crying my eyes out, on the phone to my sister Hannah and my wife Hayley, but I didn’t want to tell my mum or my dad.

“I couldn’t bring myself to tell them.”

His health got so bad, Mr Watts ended up only being able to communicate using a stick and pointing at letters on a board.

He said: “I kept thinking ‘why me?’

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“It was very hard to stay positive.

“But I remembered how when I was going through my chemotherapy I was told to look forward, set myself little goals and when I’d achieved them set myself another one.

“So that’s what I did.”

Despite his second lung collapsing, the 40-year-old came off the ventilator in June 2021 after a massive improvement in his lungs.

Within a few months, doctors and nurses had gone to the hospital to say goodbye on 21 October as he was finally able to leave the hospital.

Andrew said: “The care has been fantastic but my journey is nowhere near finished yet.

“Going home is one major goal, but then that just starts another road in my recovery.

“I started walking just four weeks ago, and my next goal is to walk to my son’s school and back by Christmas.”

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