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Miracle recovery Covid survivor who was given hours to live urges HSE to open special unit for long-term effects of illness

The 54-year-old spent 15 days in an induced coma before he made a dramatic recovery, but the illness has left him mobile for only short periods each day.

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Pat Harty today, after surviving Covid, with his wife Pamela

Pat Harty today, after surviving Covid, with his wife Pamela

Pat Harty today, after surviving Covid, with his wife Pamela

A Covid-19 survivor who was given just hours to live is calling on the HSE to provide a dedicated health unit to research the long-term effects of the illness which he is still recovering from.

It's a year since Pat Harty was told by medics they didn't think he'd make it as he was placed on a ventilator.

He was even unable to make what might have been his last call to his family due to severe shortness of breath.

The 54-year-old spent 15 days in an induced coma before he turned made a dramatic recovery, but the illness has left him mobile for only short periods each day.

"I was four days in the hospital before I deteriorated very badly. My wife Pamela was called to the hospital and was told I had only hours to live. That's how quickly the illness took hold.

"The medics did everything they could for me and as they were bringing me down to a ventilator, they basically said: ‘This is it Pat, you're going on a journey now. We don't think you're going to make it but we're going to make you as comfortable as possible.’

"They handed me a phone to call my wife Pamela and children Padraig, Nikita and Olivia, but at that particular time, I wasn’t able to breathe, I was in a bad way.

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Patrick Harty during treatment for Covid last year

Patrick Harty during treatment for Covid last year

Patrick Harty during treatment for Covid last year

"I went on a 15-day journey on a ventilator and luckily for me, I came out of it.

"I don’t know how and neither do the doctors.

"I just turned a corner and on the 14th day, I gradually started to get oxygen into me and make a recovery.

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"When the medics are telling you that you are on your deathbed, a lot of things go through your mind and I still have nightmares about being in a coma.

"My family went through another ordeal. They got one phone call a day to tell them if I was alive or dead. A FaceTime call each day to show them the condition I was in."

Pat told LMFM Radio's Late Lunch programme he puts his recovery down to divine intervention.

"It is a miracle,” he said.

"I had a lot of people praying for me. That’s what I firmly believe that it was, something like that which took me out of it."

However, life has far from returned to normal for the well-known man from Drogheda, Co. Louth, who is suffering long-term symptoms of Covid-19.

"I’m alive and I’m mobile for short periods. Most of the long-term effects have been identified and treatment is ongoing.

"This is my life now and I live in hope that over time, the effects will diminish. I have persistent respiratory symptoms. I have pulmonary fibrosis, breathlessness, fatigue and joint pain which leaves me unable to sleep.

"If you charge your phone overnight, it is 100pc when you get up in the morning but my body, when I recharge it, is about 30pc. So I have to go back for a nap about midday to recharge and get me through the rest of the day.

"I find it hard to do daily chores like empty the dishwasher and have to space them out over the day.

"Before I had Covid-19, you wouldn't have believed that I would have contracted the illness. I was careful at home and at work every day and I still don't know how or where I picked it up."

Pat has had the first jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine which left him feeling like he had a bad flu for just a few days. He's due his next shot at the end of June.

"The only thing I would ask is for the HSE to establish a dedicated health unit to research the long-term effects of Covid-19 and to support patients like me who are suffering the consequences months later – and there are a lot of them.

"They have different centres for cancer and other diseases so I think it’s time now to both support the Covid-19 survivors and also provide some services to those who have lost loved ones to it."

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