Published: 11:59, 23 September 2021
| Updated: 16:23, 23 September 2021
A 49-year-old carer who has spent 248 days in hospital battling a severe case of Covid has finally been discharged to his family.
Alan Finch, from Ramsgate,was first admitted to the QEQM Hospital in January and has faced a string of serious hurdles in his road to recovery.
Watch the emotional moment Alan Smith is applauded by staff and patients as he finally leaves hospital after 248 days
He spent two months in a coma and fought through both sepsis, multi-organ failure and pneumonia as he was brought back from the brink by doctors and nurses.
His wife Claire had to say her goodbyes to Alan twice as his family prepared for the worst, yet he defeated the odds and made it through.
After his lengthy spell in intensive care, he was transferred to the Kent and Canterbury for rehabilitation in June.
Today he was at last able to walk out, applauded by some of the staff who helped save his life.
Alan said: “I have a really mixed bag of feelings about leaving. The staff have been like a family to me and I’m sad to be leaving them.
"But it’s fantastic to think I will be home with Claire and in my own bed.
“I can’t thank everyone at both hospitals enough for everything they have done for me. They saved my life - without them I wouldn’t be here today.”
Alan, who celebrated his 49th birthday in hospital, was first admitted at the start of the year after both he and Claire fell ill with Covid.
While Claire recovered quickly, Alan’s condition suddenly deteriorated and, just one day after being taken to hospital, he was moved to intensive care and put in an induced coma.
When he came round, two months later, staff had to wean him off the ventilator and teach him how to speak, swallow and move.
He could not move his arms or legs, or speak, and had no strength at all. He was only able to communicate by nodding his head.
Alan said: “The physios and the whole team have been absolutely fantastic. You don’t realise the progress you are making until you look back to see how far you have come.
“I was determined that it wouldn’t beat me and it didn’t. I feel very lucky that I am here and able to go home.
“I was due to get the vaccination the day I was admitted, and it will be one of the first things I do when I get home.
“I think everyone should have the vaccine. I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I have.”
Claire wore one of his t-shirts every day while he was in hospital so she could feel close to him.
She said: “It has been the hardest time of my life. Twice I was told this day wasn’t coming and I had to say goodbye.
“If it wasn’t for my mum and dad I wouldn’t have got through the past nine months.
“It was so emotional to see him being clapped out, and for the staff who had looked after him to see how far he has come with his recovery. Today is definitely a special day.”
Julie Jones, ward manager on Harvey Ward, where Alan completed his rehabilitation, came to the hospital on her day off to wave him off.
“All the carers, the nurses, doctors, porters and domestics have got to know Alan and it was so emotional to see him able to go home..."
She said: “It is days like this that make being a nurse the best job in the world.
“Alan’s fantastic grit and determination paid off and thanks to his hard work he is able to walk out of hospital, after being so poorly when he first came to us.
“All the carers, the nurses, doctors, porters and domestics have got to know Alan and it was so emotional to see him able to go home.
“It really reminds us why we do the job that we do.”