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WATCH: Emotional send off for Bradford nurse after she survives COVID-19

Susamma Mathai, a Nurse Associate at Bradford Royal Infirmary, left hospital to be reunited with her family after spending 63 days in hospital.

A Bradford nurse who lay in a coma for 40 days after contracting Covid-19 (coronavirus) has thanked colleagues for saving her life.

Susamma Mathai, a Nurse Associate at Bradford Royal Infirmary, was given an emotional send off by those who had looked after her as she left hospital to be reunited with her family.

Staff lined the corridors of the hospital to the exit doors of the Duke of York wing, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, to clap as she was finally discharged after spending a total of 63 days in hospital.

Susamma, 51, joined the Trust in 2014 as a health care assistant. Since 2018, she has worked as a Nursing Associate, a relatively new role in the NHS, part of the nursing team, providing care and treatment in a wide range of health and care settings. She is based in BRI’s surgical department. She admitted she was more used to looking after patients than being one herself.

Susamma said: “I was very shocked to get Covid-19 and I felt really poorly. I was brought into hospital on April 25 and taken to the intensive care unit (ICU.) I don’t remember very much at all but I do recall struggling to breathe and had to be put on a respirator.

“When I eventually did wake up after 40 days, I couldn’t move my arms or my legs and I couldn’t speak. I just want to say how proud I am of my colleague who all worked to make me better; firstly on ICU and then on Ward 31. Everyone has helped me and I am so grateful to physiotherapy and speech therapy colleagues too who have got me standing and walking again.”

She said she was touched to hear that while she was ill, messages from staff all across the hospital wishing her a speedy recovery and sending her love, flooded in.

“So many people have been thinking of me. I am so proud of this hospital. Staff have saved my life. I now need to get fully better and then I can return to work eventually. I have to be very fit though as I work in a very busy department and I have to run around!” she said.

Once home, Susamma added that she was looking forward to catching with her husband and two grown up sons, as well as her sister, who is also a nurse at BRI, working in cardiology.

The Trust’s Chief Nurse Karen Dawber said; “Everyone has been rooting for Susamma and her recovery has been remarkable. She is a much-loved and valued colleague and to see her now ready to go home is just wonderful. This is a day of real celebration.

“We wish her all the best for her continued recovery and look forward to the day when she is fully fit and well enough to come back to join our surgical team. We’ve all missed her.”

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