As he was being wheeled out of the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) by a 'guard of honour' on Thursday after 178 days of treatment, Stuart Tyrer told staff: "Thank you for saving my life."
It was an emotional moment after a gut-wrenching four months in which Stuart's wife Jane was told to expect the worst.
Stuart, 55, from Leegomery, Telford, was admitted to the Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) at PRH in November last year after noticing his high heart rate and pulse, realising something was wrong and calling 111.
He was diagnosed with Covid-19 and placed on the ITU as his condition worsened.
Stuart, who has volunteered with West Mercia Search and Rescue for more than a decade, said: “I remember going onto the unit, and that’s all I remember for the next four months.”
Watch the emotional moment Stuart finally left hospital:
Despite being seriously ill, thanks to the skill and care of the team at PRH, Stuart eventually recovered enough to be transferred to Ward 17, where he spent the next two months, before finally being discharged yesterday.
He said: “It only seems like yesterday I came in. I missed Christmas, I missed Easter, but thankfully I will be home in time for my birthday in June. I always said if I made it this far I wanted to be walking for my birthday – which I am, albeit with the aid of crutches.”
Although Stuart is now well enough to return home, it is far from the end of his recovery. His experience with Covid-19 saw him suffer two strokes, has left him with heart problems and he is likely to lose some of his toes.
He said: “I’m lucky to be here. Covid-19 is as serious as it gets. At one point my wife was phoned because they didn’t expect me to live, so I’ve done extremely well to be here and that’s all thanks to the marvellous team here.
“I couldn’t wish for better care. Whenever I’ve needed anybody they’ve been there for me. I just want to say to them: ‘Thank you for saving my life’.”
Stuart said his advice to everyone would be to get a Covid-19 vaccine when it is offered.
He said: “Even though I’ve had Covid, I’ve been advised to get the vaccine and I will be arranging that as soon as possible.”
Sarah Sivill, ward manager on Ward 17, said: “Stuart has survived Covid-19 and all the complications that the virus brought with it. He really is a miracle and we were delighted to be able to get him home and honoured to applaud him on his way.
"We wish him all the best in his recovery.”
Hayley Flavell, director of nursing at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which runs PRH, said: “Stuart’s story is a remarkable one and everyone at the trust sends their best wishes to him as he continues his recovery at home with his wife.