A GREAT grandfather is believed to be the person who spent the longest time on a ventilator with covid - after being hooked up for eight weeks.

David Ford, 78, a retired taxi driver, was taken into hospital on March 21 and his condition quickly deteriorated.

He was placed on a ventilator at Yeovil Hospital in Somerset and was treated for six weeks before they first tried to wake him.

But when efforts to rouse David were unsuccessful, David was placed back on a ventilator for another two weeks.

In total, David spent 125 days battling the virus and 80 of those were spent in Intensive Care.

He is now off the machine and still recovering.

Chard & Ilminster News:

David Ford with a nurse at Yeovil Hospital

David said: "On March 21 I was taken into hospital with an unknown virus.

"I remember getting into the ambulance from home but that's all I can remember. My wife told me that apparently I was on the ventilator for six weeks.

"They took me off the ventilator and tried to wake me up but they couldn't so they put me on it for another two weeks.

"They took me off it and woke me up, I had four tubes down my throat and they rang up and told my wife they didn't think I would make it.

"So that was that, and I went downhill and they phoned my family up and said 'I want to put another tube down his throat' and my daughter said 'if it's the only chance he's got, yes."

He was unable to have visitors while he was in hospital - and David says that this was as hard on his family as it was for him.

David continued: "I was in hospital looking at the ceiling with no voice because they took my voice box out and all I had to look at was the ceiling."

While in the hospital, a nursing assistant called Hannah Legg helped David with the loneliness, and would take her lunch breaks by his bedside.  

David continued: "I had a nurse and she stuck by me thick and thin, and she was by my side while I was on the ventilator.

"I did 128 days in the hospital living in a bed, and I was going home the next day.

"I could barely walk, but that nurse, Hannah, stayed by my side all the time. In ICU, I couldn't praise her enough."

Speaking to ITV, Hannah said: "I remember sitting and holding his hand and thinking he was going to leave, he was extremely poorly. I still can't believe he's done so well. It's really heartwarming."  

It has now been four months since David's battle with the pandemic, but he's still feeling the effects.

He would like to urge people to take precautions, and said that everyone should be forced to wear a mask.

He added: "I've been through hell and I wouldn't want anyone else to go through what I've been through. 

"If this saves a life then I'm happy, everybody should be made to wear masks wherever they are.

"If someone weak has to go through what I've been through, let me tell you they wouldn't survive it. People should know the actual person who's been through it.

"People should be worried about what a horrible death it could be. I nearly died of it twice.

"I only just pulled through and I still can't walk after 128 days and I'm still having throat treatment because it affected the muscles in my throat. If effects every muscle in your body."

A spokesperson for Yeovil Hospital said: “We are extremely proud of all of our staff for the way they have risen to the challenges posed by this pandemic.

"Hearing Mr Ford talk about the enormous difference that nursing associate Hannah Legg made to his recovery and his emotional wellbeing during his many months in ICU is wonderful and we know this is a story being played out in our hospital, and across the NHS every day.

“Mr Ford’s experience should remind us all of the devastating impact of COVID-19 and the vital importance of following public health guidance about social-distancing, the wearing of masks, and isolating when necessary.

“We wish him all the very best for the future as he continues to recover with the expert support and care of our colleagues in Wincanton Hospital.”