Coronavirus: Gloucester father recovers after being on life support

113046491 thomfamily - Coronavirus: Gloucester father recovers after being on life supportImage copyright Thom family
Image caption Marc Thom’s condition deteriorated and he was put on a ventilator and transferred to a specialist centre in London.

A patient seriously ill with coronavirus was given a “60% chance of dying” after being put on a machine which acted as his heart and lungs.

Marc Thom, 47, from Gloucester, was taken to the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital after becoming unwell.

His condition deteriorated, he was put on a ventilator and then transferred to a specialist centre in London where he spent 13 days on the machine.

His wife Celeste said it was “the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced”.

Last week Mr Thom became the last patient to be treated in the Covid-19 unit at the Gloucestershire Royal and was applauded by staff as he was wheeled out.

Mr Thom had been feeling ill for four days before Mrs Thom took him to A&E on 7 May.

“We thought he’d already had coronavirus so we didn’t realise how sick he was,” his wife said.

After testing positive he was put in the high dependency unit and then the intensive therapy unit before returning to a ward on 22 May.

“It was his birthday on the 25th and we got to see him, then he deteriorated over the next couple of days and they ventilated him,” said Mrs Thom.

He was taken by ambulance to London’s Royal Brompton Hospital and put on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO machine.

An ECMO pumps and oxygenates a patient’s blood outside the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest.

‘Kept alive’

“It was crazy – within hours he had been taken to London and I was by myself not knowing (how he is) and wondering how we got to this stage,” said Mrs Thom.

“I was having to make decisions about starting his heart and knowing he was literally being kept alive while we waited for his lungs to start working.”

He spent 13 days on the ECMO machine before recovering enough to be brought back to Gloucestershire.

Mrs Thom and the couple’s five-year-old daughter, Taylor, visited him on Tuesday.

“We had an lovely picnic this afternoon and were surprised to find out Marc may come home later this evening. How amazing is this?” she said.

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