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Collier Row man returns home after 70 days in hospital with Covid-19

Gemma hugs Steve as he is discharged from hospital (credit: BHRUT)

A woman has thanked the staff at Queen’s Hospital after her husband returned home following 70 days battling coronavirus.

Steve Attfield, from Collier Row, spent two months in an induced coma after contracting Covid-19. 

The 50-year-old first fell ill in early April, and was admitted to Queen’s on Wednesday, 8 April.

But his condition deteriorated and he was moved into intensive care two days later, at the start of the Easter weekend.

Steve’s wife, Gemma, said: “It was not Good Friday for us. Steve texted me in the morning to say he was feeling better, the next thing I knew he was in an induced coma in intensive care.

“About a week later I was called in to say goodbye to him as he had multiple organ failure and they didn’t think he was going to make it. It was the most horrible experience of my life. The staff were brilliant, everyone from the security guard on the door, and the entire Intensive Care team. A lovely doctor was really good at explaining everything to me. His oxygen levels went up and he improved slightly while I was there, the doctor said it was because I was there talking to him. That meant so much.”

Steve and Gemma add his bee to Queen’s Hospital’s ‘tree of life’ (credit: BHRUT)

The father-of-two is now back home, and while he is not yet fully recovered, his family if grateful for the work of the NHS heroes who looked after him.

Gemma, 41, said: “I can’t praise the hospital and all the staff enough, everyone was absolutely amazing. When he was in an induced coma I didn’t speak to him for eight weeks, and Heather McCarthy from the Intensive Care team was brilliant, she was calling me all the time with updates and even called to check on him now he’s home.

“Steve was in hospital for our eldest son, Ryan’s 23rd birthday, Ryan wanted to cancel it, however, Heather set up a Zoom call so he could see his dad, and all the staff sang him happy birthday.”

Steve, who also has 21-year-old Joe with Gemma, said: “It’s really nice to be home with the family. I hadn’t seen the boys the whole time and I was reunited with them a few days before I was discharged when the physiotherapy team took me outside for the first time.”

Gemma added: “He’s got a long recovery ahead of him and needs our help – he said he’s a pain but he’s not. It’s so nice to have him home and have some normality as a family again. He’s still got his sense of humour too.

“We didn’t know what to do when he first got home, we just sat looking at each other. Our dog, Jinny, also can’t stop staring at him, trying to work out where he’s been!”

Gemma and Steven only married 18 months ago, just before Gemma turned 40. They have been together for 24 years.

Queen’s Hospital is run by the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which also runs King George Hospital in Goodmayes.

Between the two hospitals, more than 1,500 patients, including Steve, have been treated for and recovered from Covid-19. This includes 66 people in the last week.

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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