Covid-19 patient wakes from coma to discover he’s going to be a grandfather

Daniel Harkins, PA Scotland
·2-min read

A Covid-19 patient who spent two months in an induced coma on a ventilator woke up to the news that he is going to be a grandfather.

Brian Fernie is recovering in a ward at University Hospital Hairmyres in East Kilbride after spending 67 days in intensive care battling coranavirus – 61 of them in a coma.

The experience so shook the 46-year-old from Cambuslang that he is now planning to marry his partner of 22 years.

Mr Fernie, who has mild asthma, was fit and healthy before catching the virus in November.

Brian Fernie with his partner and daughters (NHS Lanarkshire/PA)
Brian Fernie with his partner and daughters (NHS Lanarkshire/PA)

After being taken to hospital he lost four stone while in an ICU.

“When I woke up I couldn’t even lift a finger,” he said.

His recovery was aided by the surprise news that his daughter Brooke, 20, was pregnant and due to give birth in May.

“Brooke was going to tell me she was pregnant but she didn’t get a chance before I fell ill,” he said.

“So she surprised me by sending me a card with the baby scan after I was moved out of ICU.

“I opened it while I was on a video call with the family, so they could see how delighted I was when I found out.”

Mr Fernie and his partner Lisa McCutcheon – who have another daughter, Ellie, 16 – have talked about tying the knot for a long time, but Brian’s experience has convinced them there is no point waiting.

“We’ve booked Gretna Green for early June,” he said. “If Covid restrictions allow, we’ll marry there and head off to Thailand for our honeymoon.”

Mr Fernie, who works as a window installer, thanked hospital staff for helping him and has encouraged others to follow coronavirus restrictions.

“All the staff have been fantastic and I’m now working with the physiotherapists to get back on my feet,” he said.

“This week I’ve managed to stand unaided for the first time and I’m able to walk a few steps using a walking frame.

“I’ve put a stone in weight back on and I’m feeling positive about the future, although I know it will take time to recover.”

He added: “This is a life-changing illness, so I’d urge folk to get the vaccine – I certainly will when I can.”

The hospital’s chief of nursing services Lise Axford said: “We’re all delighted to see Brian’s rehab going well and would like to congratulate him on becoming a granddad and on his upcoming wedding.

“Our dedicated staff have done a remarkable job caring for him over a lengthy period in ICU and since he has moved onto the ward.”