A radiographer was given a guard of honour as he walked out of hospital today – after recovering from whole-body paralysis caused by coronavirus.
Paul Skegg, 42, smiled and clapped as he left Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, as a newly engaged man following a dramatic recovery described as ‘just short of a miracle’.
NHS staff lined the corridor to cheer him on as he managed to walk out of the building, despite being paralysed during some of the 11 days he spent in ICU.
His now-fiancée Katy Lavender was handed a bouquet of flowers as she joined Mr Skegg outside the Covid-19 ward.
Paul Skegg, 42, smiled and clapped as he left Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, as a newly engaged man following a dramatic recovery described as ‘nothing short of a miracle’
During his time in hospital he suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome that led to total muscular paralysis of the body.
As he struggled to breath he asked his girlfriend to marry him by mouthing the words through his tracheotomy tube.
In an emotional video shared by the trust – who Mr Skegg has worked with for 24 years – he and his fiancée left the hospital to a bout of applause.
Dr Jonathan Kwan, divisional medical director at the Kent hospital, said the radiographer was admitted on April 3 and later developed the ‘very rare’ complication of Covid-19.
It is the first known case in Kent, if not the whole country, he said.
During his time in the intensive treatment unit (ITU), Mr Skegg popped the question to his girlfriend Miss Lavender.
The pair both work as radiographers for different NHS trusts.
During his time in hospital Mr Skegg suffered a rare complication of Covid-19 that led to total muscular paralysis of the body. As he struggled to breath he asked Kate Lavender (pictured with her engagement ring) to marry him
Dr Kwan said: ‘He thought he was in his last leg and he took a deep breath and mouthed the proposal through his tracheotomy tube.
‘To no-one’s surprise, Katy accepted, to the immense delight of all the ITU staff looking after him.
‘It was an extraordinary happy occasion to otherwise sweaty hard-slog routines of ITU.’
Miss Lavender took to Facebook group The Society and College of Radiographers to share the news of her fiancé’s recovery.
In a heartwarming post she wrote: ‘Paul Skegg has been making incredible progress.
‘Having defeated Covid-19 and recovering from Gullain-Barré syndrome triggered by the coronavirus I was allowed visitation today and we are now engaged to be married!
Miss Lavender took to Facebook group The Society and College of Radiographers to share the news of her fiancé’s recovery
‘He is making great progress, having been weaned off ventilation and we are both looking forward to returning to work and continuing to help those affected by Covid-19 as a team.’
She thanked members of the group for offering their support during the couple’s ‘darkest hours’.
She added: ‘The messages of hope and love were a lifesaver for me and Paul’s mother and we extend our thanks and love to the entire Radiological community.
‘We hope everyone keeps safe and continues their amazing work saving lives. We owe you and the healthcare professions so much!’
In an emotional video shared by the trust – who Mr Skegg has worked with for 24 years – he and his fiancée left the hospital to a bout of applause
Dr Kwan paid tribute to the critical care team as well as the hospital’s expert neurologists, who used a ‘groundbreaking’ therapy to treat Mr Skegg.
It used an immunoglobulin infusion, a plasma extract from blood donations supplied by the National Blood Transfusion Service (NHSBT).
He said: ‘Without this, Paul might have been on the ventilator for much longer.
‘His rapid recovery is just short of a miracle.
‘Today, we lined the corridor for one of our own and clapped this front-line NHS staff home, following a 16-day stay at Darent Valley Hospital.’
WHO says lifting virus lockdowns too quickly could spark ‘deadly resurgence’
A hasty lifting of restrictions imposed to control the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a fatal resurgence of the new coronavirus, the World Health Organization has warned.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was working with countries on ways in which lockdowns could be gradually eased, but said doing so too quickly could be dangerous.
‘I know that some countries are already planning the transition out of stay-at-home restrictions. WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone,’ he told a virtual press conference in Geneva.
‘At the same time, lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence. The way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly.
‘WHO is working with affected countries on strategies for gradually and safely easing restrictions.’
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pictured during a news conference, has warned that lifting coronavirus restrictions too quickly could result in a resurgence
The global death toll has now passed 100,000, and more than 1.6 million infections have been recorded globally since the virus first emerged in China in December.
Tedros welcomed signs that the spread of the virus was slowing in some of the hardest-hit countries in Europe – namely Spain, Italy, Germany and France.
But he also warned of an ‘alarming acceleration’ of the virus in some countries, highlighting Africa, where he said the virus was beginning to spread to rural areas.
‘We are now seeing clusters of cases and community spread in more than 16 countries’ on the continent, he said.
‘We anticipate severe hardship for already overstretched health systems, particularly in rural areas, which normally lack the resources of those in cities.’
Tedros also sent his best wishes to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been moved out of intensive care as he battles the coronavirus.