Couple struck by Covid walk out of hospital hand in hand as they thank lifesaving NHS staff
A couple admitted to hospital within days of each other with coronavirus were cheered on their journey home by the NHS staff who saved their lives.
Sunderland Royal Hospital went the extra mile to help Peter and Sheila Kirkup, moving them into the same ward when they were well enough, just in time to mark their eighth wedding anniversary.
Peter, 67, was the first to fall ill and after experiencing a continuous cough, shivering and breathlessness, was admitted to Ward E54, where he stayed for 15 days.
Sheila, 58, was admitted five days later, calling for an ambulance when her condition left her unable to speak, deteriorating to the point she spent three days in intensive care.
Throughout their stay the Ford Estate couple kept in touch via FaceTime.
After learning Sheila’s condition was improving and moving to the same ward in time for their wedding anniversary, Peter said he felt like he had “won the lottery.”
The team arranged for them to celebrate the special day with their dinner and tea together and gifted them a card and cake.
They were discharged shortly after, leaving hand-in-hand as the team clapped.
Peter said: “We’ve been together for 18 years and all of the staff went out of their way to help us celebrate.
"I can’t praise them enough and am forever in their debt. They saved our lives.”
Sheila added: “It was very emotional but I am just so happy that we are both here together and alive.
"It’s like we have been reborn with a new outlook on life.”
Ward manager Deborah Carr said: “Our team pride ourselves on providing the highest standards of patient care.
"As well as treating the physical symptoms, it also important to recognise how important mental wellbeing is in a patient’s recovery.
"It’s been really difficult for patients not be able to see family and friends due to Covid-19, so where we can make this happen virtually or where we can help patients mark special moments, we will always try our absolute best.
“When we discovered that Peter and Sheila’s wedding anniversary was coming up, we wanted to make it special considering their circumstances.
"But, the biggest satisfaction for us was being able to discharge the couple back home together and see them smile as they left the ward.”