Man sees family for first time since being in hospital for two months

A grandfather has been able to see his family in person for the first time since being admitted to hospital with coronavirus almost eight weeks ago.

Brian Harvey, 69, arrived at Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) on March 21 with symptoms of Covid-19 and tested positive for the virus within 24 hours.

He was taken to the hospital’s intensive care unit and put in a medically induced coma for four weeks, during which time he had a tracheostomy and received kidney dialysis.

On April 12, his family were told that Mr Harvey’s kidneys were failing and he may not make it through the night.

The following day, his granddaughter Tallulah turned nine and wanted a birthday cake to make a special wish for Mr Harvey to get better.

That evening, the family – who asked medical staff not to give up on Mr Harvey – were told he was improving.

Mary Harvey and Faye Stapleton
Mary Harvey and Faye Stapleton have helped raise more than £6,000 to buy electronic tablet devices (University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation/PA)

Mr Harvey initially did not respond well to being brought out of the medically induced coma and a week later, nurses suggested that his family video-called him so he could hear their voices.

He has since recovered enough to be moved onto another ward, where he is receiving physiotherapy and rehabilitation – and is now able to call his family himself.

They have raised more than £6,000 to buy electronic tablet devices so other patients can make and receive video-calls.

They were able to see Mr Harvey in person – from a distance – when they dropped off the devices at the hospital on Tuesday.

“We never thought we’d see his name come up on our phones again,” his daughter Faye Stapleton said.

“All of this fundraising has been done in his name; it’s all been for him. Now when I speak to him, he tells me how proud he is. He’s a miracle.

“I can’t thank the hospital staff enough, they are all absolute heroes in my eyes. Dad owes his life to the hospital staff. They never gave up.”

Mr Harvey, who lives in Bristol, has been dubbed ‘The Teflon Man’ by his medical team.

He is now on ward A400, where he is receiving physiotherapy and rehabilitation to build his muscle strength back up and help him walk, talk and eat again.

Becky Russell, ICU sister at the BRI, said: “Mr Harvey was desperately unwell with the Covid-19 infection, spending over five weeks in our care, making him one of our longest-staying patients on ICU with the virus.

“It’s a real boost for the team when patients are well enough to be discharged to the wards, and later sent home.”

She said teams at the hospital were “very grateful” for the family raising money for the electronic devices.

“We’d like to wish Mr Harvey all the best with his ongoing recovery, and hope he will be home soon,” she added.