Published on 14 June 2021
A grandad whose family were twice told to say their goodbyes was given an emotional send-off by staff as he left hospital after 147 days of treatment.
Jim Beverton was admitted to the William Harvey Hospital in January after contracting Covid-19 and spent 53 days in a coma.
When he came round he could barely move, and he had a tube in his throat to help him breathe.
But thanks to the care and dedication of teams across East Kent Hospitals he was able to walk out of the Kent and Canterbury Hospital on Thursday, to the sound of cheering and applause from staff who lined the corridors to wish him well.
His wife Linda and his beloved dog Caramel – who had visited him while he was in intensive care – were waiting to welcome him home in River, near Dover.
Jim, who turned 62 while he was in hospital, said: “I was bedridden when I came to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital after being in intensive care at Ashford – and now I’m walking out.
“It is a really emotional day. There are going to be some challenges ahead but the people here have been absolutely brilliant and I have made some fantastic friends.
“It has been quite a ride, and although I’m sad to leave the place that has been my home for such a long time it will be lovely to be with my family and in my own bed.”
Jim fell ill just after Christmas when the whole family tested positive for Covid-19. Sadly, his mum died from the virus.
He was in intensive care for more than 100 days before being transferred to Harvey Ward at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital for intensive rehabilitation.
He said: “I don’t remember much of when I was really ill. I remember the people were really kind and they were doing their best for me.
“Everyone, from the doctors and the nurses to the people who brought me my meals, was willing me to get better and pushing me to try my best.
“I remember when I saw my wife in person for the first time when she was able to visit, and we were both in tears for about five minutes.”
Jim and Linda have been married for 43 years, and have two daughters and two grandchildren.
She said: “This has been a very long and emotional journey, and we are now at the beginning of a new one.
“We were called to say goodbye to him twice. Until you have personal experience of this virus you don’t realise how awful it is, but there is a lot of support out there and people really going over and above for us.
“We would like to thank all members of staff, from the cleaners and domestics to the nurses, physios, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, and most of all to the amazing ITU staff at William Harvey. Without them we would not be welcoming Jim home.
“When he left the Harvey he couldn’t do anything, and even a couple of weeks ago he couldn’t eat. But now he is eating, walking, and doing amazingly.
“We have a long road ahead. But at least we have the joy of him coming home and are only too aware that he is one of many who have been on a similar journey and sadly many were not so lucky and succumbed to Covid-19.”