A huge round of applause and plenty of smiles filled Walsall Manor Hospital’s Critical Care Unit yesterday when its longest stay Covid patient was finally able to be moved on to a ward to continue his recovery.
Father-of-three Muhammad Afsar had spent 90 days on the unit after being admitted back in January.
He had taken a covid test on 8 January after developing a cough and when it came back positive he made sure he isolated for ten days. But the cough worsened and he became so ill that an ambulance was called and he was taken to the Emergency Department before going on to Ward 29.
Mr Afsar, aged 43, explained: “I can remember coming into hospital but my time on the Critical Care Unit when I was at my worst I can’t remember at all.
“I know from speaking to the doctors and nurses since that my family was told it didn’t look like I’d make it on more than one occasion and my lungs were described as looking like cottage cheese. I had to have chest drains and I was in a coma for 34 days in total.
“I do remember dreaming and praying to God to bring me out of the dreams.”
The restaurant worker is full of praise for the team that has been caring for him so far.
He said: “They are so dedicated. They keep persevering and never give up on you. It must be so hard for them too to deal with patients who are so desperately ill. I am very thankful to them.”
During his time in Critical Care Mr Afsar was able to see his wife Sumona through the window of the unit and his children who are aged 18, 11 and seven.
“My children just want dad to come home so I need to concentrate on doing my physio now and getting better so I can leave hospital.”
Dr Atul Garg, Acting Critical Care Lead and Consultant Anaesthetist said yesterday’s milestone in Mr Afsar’s recovery had been a real morale boost for staff too.
“It has been fantastic to hear him speak and to share a laugh and joke with him because he was so critically ill and there were a couple of times that we feared he wouldn’t survive,” he said.
“I have read that statistically patients with multiple chest drains don’t survive so this outcome is even more amazing.
“To see him smiling at us as he left the unit was brilliant. We sent him off to the ward with all our good wishes for his continued recovery and reunion with his family.”
Watch Mr Afsar’s send off here.