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WATCH: Shifnal coronavirus survivor back home after 102 days in hospital

By Lisa O'Brien | Shifnal | Coronavirus | Published:

A coronavirus survivor from Shifnal is now back home after spending more than 100 days battling the disease in hospitals across Shropshire.

Paul Hodgskin with his partner Sue Dhingra at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford

Paul Hodgskin first noticed his taste had changed when he ate a pizza which tasted like cardboard.

After he started vomiting and his temperature spiked at around 41 degrees at the end of March, the 64-year-old was taken to Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

WATCH the moment Paul was applauded out of hospital:

Coronavirus survivor returns home after 100 days in hospital

A day later the father-of-three was put into an induced coma and placed on a ventilator, with his loved ones warned over Easter that his chances of survival were just 10 per cent.

"I was put on the Covid ward and the next day they admitted me onto the intensive therapy unit (ITU)," said Paul, who lives in Shifnal.

"I don't remember much after that. I remember taking a selfie with a full face mask on.

Paul Hodgskin with his partner Sue Dhingra

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"I sent a message to my partner, Sue, that they were going to put me in an induced coma. That's the last thing I remember until I woke up."

By May 1, a whole month after he was induced into the coma, he had opened his eyes and was trying to speak.

More Covid-19 coverage:

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But he remained on a ventilator and it wasn't until May 29 that he could leave ITU, with staff cheering and clapping as he was wheeled out.

His partner, Sue Dhingra, who he was due to marry next month until Covid-19 halted their plans, said she and family members had been able to keep in touch with Paul using FaceTime when restrictions stopped people visiting.

"The first time I saw him in the flesh was May 28," she said.

Paul Hodgskin with his partner Sue Dhingra

"They brought him outside of the hospital for some fresh air and they said I could see him if I stood at a safe distance. It was really emotional.

"When he was clapped out of ITU it was so lovely.

"Some nurses stayed on after their shifts because they wanted to see him go. Some of them started crying."

Paul Hodgskin

Paul was then transferred to the renal unit at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital due to problems with his kidneys, which had stopped working when he suffered multiple organ failure over Easter.

He spent another month there until being transferred to Bridgnorth Community Hospital on June 25 for physical rehabilitation.

Sue, 63, says he has had to learn to eat, walk and even breathe again.

She said: "He had lost a lot of his body strength. He couldn't even lift his head up at one stage."

Paul Hodgskin back home

Paul finally came home in an ambulance on Saturday, after spending 102 days in the various hospitals.

"I couldn't believe it when they said he could come home," said Sue, who has been in a relationship with Paul for seven years.

"Over Easter we were told he had a 10 per cent chance of survival. When I heard that, I thought he was going to die.

"At that point it was dreadful, but as the weeks went on he made small steps in the right direction.

Happier times when Paul and Sue went to Zimbabwe

"I've missed him so much. He is a lucky, lucky man.

"The fact that he is still here is a tribute to the skill of the ITU staff in Telford. They never gave up on him and as a family we will be eternally grateful to them.

"The staff were wonderful. We could phone any time day or night and get updates.

"His rehabilitation is ongoing and will be a long process."

Paul, who was born in Zimbabwe and moved to the UK in 2007, said: "I am very thankful to the hospital staff and how they looked after me.

Paul Hodgskin with his partner Sue Dhingra

"When I woke up in ITU I couldn't move a thing. When I went to Bridgnorth I was very uneasy on the walking frame.

"The physiotherapy I received got me using the frame with a lot of confidence.

"I have been through the wars and feel very thankful for all the efforts people have made. I'm thankful to Sue and all my family for rooting for me.

"I would like to thank all the staff, all the doctors and nurses. They said if I hadn't been admitted to PRH when I was, I wouldn't have survived.

"Without them I wouldn't be here today."

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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