UK's longest Covid patient dies over a year after being admitted to St James Hospital

  • Video report by Jon Hill

Tributes have been paid to a man thought to be the longest surviving covid 19 hospital patient in the UK who has died after 15 months in intensive care.

Jason Kelk, 49, a school IT technician from Leeds, died on Friday just hours after doctors at St James's Hospital in Leeds, withdrew treatment at his request. 

He had been on a ventilator for much of his treatment at the hospital and had suffered delirium, damage to his kidneys and a cardiac arrest.

In January, he took his first steps and his condition began to improve. In April he told ITV Calendar, via a video call from his hospital that he hoped to come home to be reunited with his wife Sue.

But in recent weeks he suffered a relapse and his condition deteriorated. Mr Kelk retained mental capacity, but his wife said he no longer had the strength to face the ongoing fight.

Despite her pleas, he told doctors to stop the treatment he was receiving. On Friday morning the medical team ended his intravenous feeding, oxygen supply and 24-hour a day kidney filtering. He died a few hours later.

Jason's wife told ITV News that he was "very strong, very kind and very loving and just a hero really".

She added: "I think he's given hope to a lot of people that have suffered with covid and the after-effects of covid and maybe realise that it's a really horrible thing and to follow the rules, abide by the rules."

Parklands Primary School, at Seacroft, in Leeds, where Mr Kelk worked for 17 years, is to rename the school IT suite in his honour.

The school's headteacher, Chris Dyson was allowed to visit Mr Kelk in hospital on Thursday evening.

He said: "I was really really proud that I was given the opportunity to go and see him yesterday, even though it was only immediate family members and just to be able to spend an hour with him holding his hand, being able to give him a hug goodbye, kiss him on his head because he has been at this school for 17 years, he revolutionised IT. It's just a really sad day.

"People who say Covid doesn't exist. This poor man has been in hospital for 16 months, laid out in a coma in a hospital's just a tragic waste of someone so so young."