A grandfather who was hours away from death when his weight dropped to nine stones in a 65-day battle with the coronavirus challenged doctors to make a “miracle” recovery.
Victor McCleary, 57, spent six weeks in a coma after being struck by the deadly virus that prevented him from eating or breathing on his own.
His family were told to say their last goodbyes after learning that he was unlikely to survive the illness because he “literally withered” at the hospital.
Victor McCleary, pictured with partner Helen Madden, spent six months in a coma while fighting Covid-19
His family has been warned that he may never recover from the disease after some of his organs have started to fail
15-stone construction worker was left “skin and bones” after dropping six stones during his 11-week hospital stay while nurses fed him through a tube
The 15-stone construction worker was left with only “skin and bones” after dropping six stones during his 11-week hospital stay while nurses fed him in a tube.
Meanwhile, his fiancée Helen Madden, 55, also lost his father, John, to illness and feared the worst for his partner while he was in intensive care.
But incredibly, Mr. McCleary’s condition has miraculously improved thanks to the tireless efforts of NHS staff at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital who cared for him 24 hours a day.
After a total of 65 days at the hospital – during which he had to relearn how to sit, stand and walk – he was finally discharged and discharged home on June 9.
Mr. McCleary of Worcester said, “I take my hat off to the hospital staff, they went beyond me and that is why I am still here today.
“The doctors told my family that it was likely that I would not survive. They said I could drop by at any time.
“I was on 100% oxygen and unable to breathe on my own.
“I was literally wasting away. When I came out of a coma, I remember looking at my body in shock and thinking that I had been in a car accident.
“It was as if someone had stolen my body. I only saw the skin and the bones.
“I thought” Oh my life what happened here “. Before I went into a coma, I was pretty fit but I was quite a fat boy. I was strong and had a lot of muscle.
Mr. McCleary said, “I was literally wasting away. When I came out of a coma, I remember looking at my body in shock and thinking that I had been in a car accident. It was like someone had stolen my body. I only saw the skin and the bones ‘
“But all of a sudden I was there, unable to move. I had to learn to sit and then learn to walk again.
“I received a dietary supplement through a syringe in my stomach because of the damage to my vocal cords. I’ve always been hungry but there was no other way.
“It was so difficult for me. It was a terrifying journey. I still feel so weak. Going upstairs is like climbing a mountain.
“I know we look at all the NHS workers with pride, but until you’ve seen these guys and girls give 110 percent up close, it hits home.
“They never moan, they always show compassion and they put themselves on the front line.
“I can say that I am so proud of the best NHS team in the world. “
McCleary said he started getting sick on March 27, and that he and Helen, who works at Worcestershire Royal Hospital as a housekeeper, have decided to isolate themselves for two weeks.
The grandfather of four and the father of two said he expected the virus to look like a cold or the flu and now wants to warn others about the dangers of Covid-19.
He added, “I started hearing about the coronavirus in early March, like everyone else really does.
“My construction work takes me everywhere and I was still working until March 23.
“I have to be honest, I wasn’t really worried, I didn’t realize the extent of the virus.
“I imagined it would be like the flu. I’m a great guy and very fit and healthy, so I wasn’t too confused.
“But I knew that what I was feeling was not normal. I have never been sick and have not missed a day of work in 17 years.
“I was losing my breath going up the stairs, I was getting dizzy and my temperature was going up to 42.
“On Sunday, April 5, in the morning, I told Helen that I was having trouble breathing, so she called 111 and in ten minutes the ambulance was with us.
He said, “I imagined it would be just like the flu. I’m a great guy and very fit and healthy, so I wasn’t too confused by that ‘
“At a glance, they said they thought I had a coronavirus and took me to the hospital. I always remember thinking it would be okay, it’s only like the flu.
“When I entered the hospital I was going back and forth and the next day I was placed in the intensive care unit. After that, I ran out of memory.
While McCleary was in intensive care, his family was left in limbo while Helen unfortunately lost her father to illness on Good Friday.
He said, “I had to get extra syringes through my nose because they damaged my vocal cords with the tube.
“There was a tube in my nose and this thing was moving so there were days when I had no food at all. They said it was a miracle that I survived.
‘Helen has really had a lot in her life – with me in the hospital, her father died but we also had a grandson Noah born around that time.
“It had to be a roller coaster for her and she stayed strong for me and her family.
“While I was recovering, I only had time to think. I now realize what I almost lost and I thank God for doing it. “
McCleary transferred to QE Birmingham on May 17 due to rehabilitation due to kidney failure
He said, “I recovered remarkably quickly and now, all things considered, I’m fine. I want to thank the NHS staff at both hospitals for my life and this second chance. I will become strong again but it will take time ‘
McCleary was transferred to QE Hospital in Birmingham on May 17 due to the rehabilitation required due to his kidney failure.
He said, “I recovered remarkably quickly and now, all things considered, I’m fine.
“I want to thank the NHS staff at both hospitals for my life and this second chance. I will become strong again but it will take time.
McCleary also criticized those who continue to underestimate the disease while packing Britain’s parks and beaches and gathering in large numbers.
He said, “You wouldn’t be playing Russian roulette, but that’s what they do.
“People need to be better educated. I thought it would never happen to me and I would be strong enough to get over it.
“My message to everyone is to be seriously aware of what this virus is. It kills. Please don’t take the risk.
McCleary also criticized those who continue to underestimate the disease while packing Britain’s parks and beaches and gathering in large numbers. He said, “You wouldn’t be playing Russian roulette, but that’s what they do”