The human toll of the Covid crisis: Granddad desperate to see grandchildren issues plea

  • Video report by ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan

Desperate to see his grandchildren again, a Covid patient in intensive care has stressed the importance of following virus restrictions.

In a powerful moment, Alan Carslake told ITV News he has come out an “emotional wreck” after two weeks of severe illness at St George’s Hospital.

But getting him through is the thought of reuniting with his family and grandchildren – and he is “determined” to recover from an illness he warned everyone must take seriously.

“It’s very serious, nothing to take lightly whatsoever, and I get annoyed at people that I used to hear saying this is all a nonsense,” he said.

“The reality is it’s not, it’s a serious thing that’s happening here and you guys [NHS staff] are up against it.

“The likes of me, I’m grateful for whatever is being done and the NHS, I’ve got to say, they’ve been amazing.”

Mr Carslake, visibly upset, was consoled by a doctor standing by who reassured him that he is getting better.

“I felt desperately ill the past two weeks, I’ve come out the other side and it’s emotionally wrecking my head,” he said.

“But I’ve got to stay strong, I’ve got family, I’ve got grandkids, I’ve got everything happening.”

He added that he is a “tough cookie” and "mentally strong".

'I'm determined not to go down'

Mr Carslake is one of thousands in hospital with the virus.

A record 4,134 hospital admissions of people with Covid-19 in England were reported for January 12, according to the latest figures from NHS England.

This is up 12% on the equivalent figure a week ago on January 5.

During the first wave of the virus, admissions peaked at 3,099 on April 1 2020.

All regions have recorded a week-on-week increase in daily admissions apart from London (down 4%) and south-east England (down 1%).

The figures cover all patients admitted in the previous 24 hours who were known to have Covid-19, plus any patients diagnosed in hospital with Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours.

Dr Dominic Spray said nurses are stretched at the Covid ward.

Dr Dominic Spray, Clinical Director for Adult Intensive Care at St George’s Hospital, said the intensive care community has come together and pledged to find a bed for anyone who needs it, even if that means resources being shared across the country.

But the frustration he admits, is many in need of other treatments not being able to get into hospital.

“At home is an ever-growing pool of patients, who cannot get the care they need and those patients will be coming to harm at home,” he said, underlining the importance of adhering Covid restrictions.

The heavy workload nurses are having to contend with has “worn out” staff, Dr Spray adds, but “the care is exceptional given the circumstances.”

One of those nurses was Cristina Isaura-Lucas, who worked on the acute medical unit.

She was admitted into the same ward overnight after suffering with shortness of breath.

“Very breathless,” she said, barely able to speak, when asked how she was feeling.

“Breathing and saturation levels [were low]… when I realised I was kind of collapsing… I was getting short of breath.”