Tearful mum clapped out by NHS staff to go home to her children after a year in hospital with Covid

  • Nicole Tuna is clapped out as she goes home to see her children - after a year in hospital

A mother-of-two who spent a year in hospital after contracting Covid while eight months pregnant was clapped out by cheering staff as she finally went home.

Nicole Tuna, 30, was admitted to the critical care wards at Royal Papworth Hospital on 7 November last year after being transferred from Colchester Hospital where she had had an emergency C-section.

Her Covid diagnosis was only discovered in the last trimester of her pregnancy in October 2021.

She fell so unwell that doctors at Papworth in Cambridge put her into an induced coma, and on a specialist machine to oxygenate her blood for her.

Nicole Tuna and her husband Mike - who visited her every day. Credit: Royal Papworth Hospital

She eventually woke up in February when her daughter Thea was already three months old - and saw her for the first time when she was six months old.

"One of the doctors asked me: 'What's your last wish?'

"And in that moment, I said: 'My wish is I want to live with my kids because I want to stay with them, see them grow up'," Mrs Tuna told ITV News Anglia.

"But I fight and I'm here."

Thea Tuna celebrating her first birthday at Royal Papworth- the family are planning to have her christened next week. Credit: Family photo

In total Mrs Tuna, who was unvaccinated, spent 299 days on the ECMO machine - the longest patient Royal Papworth has ever treated this way.

In total she spent 360 days in the critical care unit alone.

Nicole's husband Mike described today as "the best day in my entire life" Credit: Family photo

Despite that, her husband Mike travelled from their Colchester home every day to visit her.

"He encouraged me, be brave, fight," said Mrs Tuna.

"The staff here as well, they are like a second family," she added.

She said a new journey was now beginning, one she described as "my second life".

Kerry Pooley, Sister, Critical Care Area with Ncole and student nurse Ramona Nyiri

Kerry Pooley, a sister at Royal Papworth Hospital, admitted that the sight of Mrs Tuna leaving to go home was a day she thought may never come.

"Seeing Nicole fit and heading home to be with her family is something that we thought would take a very very long time," she admitted.

"It is absolutely astounding she is heading home to be with her family.

"We are all just so fond of her and so happy to see her looking so well.

"It is such a good boost for the team, for the morale, to see that all that hard work has actually got Nicole where she needs to be - and that is cuddling her children tonight."

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