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'I owe my life to the QEH', says Fakenham paramedic who beat coronavirus

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A paramedic from Fakenham says he owes his life to his NHS colleagues as he continues his recovery from the coronavirus.

Lenny Brocklebank spent nearly two weeks in Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital last month as he battled the infection and is now one of 200 Covid patients to have been discharged from its care.

Now, he has spoken of his experience and paid tribute to the staff who kept him alive.

Lenny Brocklebank is recovering at his home in Fakenham after spending nearly two weeks in hospital with coronavirus (34660844)
Lenny Brocklebank is recovering at his home in Fakenham after spending nearly two weeks in hospital with coronavirus (34660844)

He said: “Looking back now it can be hard to remember all the details of my 12-day stay in hospital, but it was an experience I will never forget, and makes me feel emotional trying to talk about it.

"I’ve always been grateful for all the fantastic care the QEH has given me, and my family, over the years but now I can’t thank the doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants enough."

Lenny had been self-isolating at home with his wife, Carol, after showing symptoms of the virus. But, while Carol recovered within a week, Lenny's condition worsened.

Lenny Brocklebank in his paramedic's uniform (34660798)
Lenny Brocklebank in his paramedic's uniform (34660798)

He said: "After 10 days I was feeling very unwell and was breathless and dizzy.

"When a blood oxygen monitor showed my levels were low, I recognised it was time to call an ambulance. I remember it was colleagues from Hunstanton who came. They immediately boosted my blood oxygen levels and took me straight to hospital."

Having been admitted to QEH on April 2, tests confirmed Lenny had the virus, though his ordeal was still far from over.

He explained: “Late one evening, after four days on high flow oxygen and IV medication, the consultant had a conversation with me. As a medic, plain speaking was something I was grateful for but it was a scary conversation.

“I was told that I was not responding to treatment, and if there was still no improvement when he returned in the morning, he would have to get his team together and consider moving me to the intensive care unit.

"I did not want to worry my wife with the potential consequences, so told her nothing.

“Thankfully, that night my fever broke, and knowing severe temperature is a large part of feeling unwell, I was grateful to bypass intensive care and was then transferred to Oxborough Ward where I continued to improve.

"While there I signed up to a clinical trial which I hope will allow me to give a little back and help others in the fight against Covid-19.

“After a total of 12 days, between three wards, I was well enough to be discharged home.”

Lenny estimates he is now about 90 per cent recovered from the virus and says he is starting to get his stamina back, after his first walk to a nearby bus stop and back left him "puffing like a train."

Libby McManus, the QEH's chief nurse, said: "It is especially pleasing for staff across our hospital when patients who have been seriously ill are discharged.

Mr Brocklebank is one of more than 390 COVID-19 positive patients who we have cared for and, thankfully, he is one of 200 who are now continuing their recoveries at home.

"I can only echo Mr Brocklebank's praise for our staff and their bravey and compassion in often challenging circumstances. This is the standard of care we should deliver consistently to all our patients."

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