Alnwick firefighter battling covid leaves intensive care after 38 days - to applause by staff at Northumberland hospital
An Alnwick firefighter who spent 38 days in intensive care and nearly lost his life to Covid-19 is starting out on the long road to recovery.
Mick McTigue, 49, still requires oxygen, has suffered serious damage to his lungs and has lost three stones in weight.
However, there is now finally light at the end of the tunnel following a two-month battle against the virus.
Mick was transferred to the respiratory ward at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care (NSEC) Hospital in Cramlington last week, where he is making slow but steady progress.
His wife, Eva, said: “He is negative for Covid-19 now and x-rays show his lungs have started to make an improvement so we’re hopeful he won’t need oxygen for much longer. If he continues to improve, we’re hoping to get him home in the next two weeks.”
It has been a terrifying experience for the couple, who have an 11-year-old daughter, Gaby.
"It was a very worrying and stressful time, especially when he was in ICU (intensive care unit) and the medics couldn’t give us reassurances that he would come out,” said Eva.
It all started when Eva came down with coronavirus on November 26, although she only had mild symptoms.
In early December, Mick started feeling unwell and returned a positive Covid-19 test.
"He gradually deteriorated and on December 7 came downstairs struggling for breath,” revealed Eva. “He was very pale so I called an ambulance and they confirmed his oxygen levels were low and he was admitted to hospital.
"At that point he was just in for observation but then he got worse. They gave him drug treatments but those didn’t work and then he was given plasma twice before he was placed in an induced coma on December 17.
"That was when the shock really hit and we worried how bad this was going to be.”
After four days, medics tried bringing him round but his condition deteriorated and he was put back into a coma where he spent Christmas.
"That was so difficult, although he was stable,” said Eva, who actually works at NSEC as a phlebotomist.
Unfortunately, Mick then picked up another infection.
Eventually, he was brought out of the induced coma again on January 10 and slowly began to show signs of recovery.
"He didn’t know what had happened,” said Eva. “He thought he’d been out for three days but he spent 38 days in ICU.”
He was given a round of applause by staff when he made the short journey from ICU to the respiratory ward.
Mick, who works at RAF Boulmer, is now slowly getting back on his feet with the help of a zimmer frame, but his recovery could take months.
"The medics aren’t sure what is going to happen with his lung capacity so he might not be going back to work for some time,” said Eva.
The couple are hugely grateful to the teams in ICU and Ward 12 and everyone at NSEC, as well as family and friends for their support.
Eva hopes the story will show that Covid-19 can hit anyone hard.
She said: "He was a very fit man and relatively young so I hope it will help people understand that this is real, it is bad and it can happen to anyone.”