Sibsey man given guard of honour when he finally left intensive care

57-year-old George Barker says he is only alive today thanks to the care he received while at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston. Credit: United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

A Sibsey man was given a guard of honour by doctors and nurses when he finally left intensive care after spending more than three weeks fighting for his life with coronavirus.

57-year-old George Barker says he is only alive today thanks to the care he received while at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.

The businessman had been looking after his wife Amanda and son who had both been bedbound with suspected COVID-19 when he first started to feel unwell.

Amanda said: “I had been so unwell and George had been taking such good care of me. I just remember every time I woke up he was starting to look more and more unwell. That was when I realised I needed to get on top of this."

As Amanda saw her partner of more than 20 years deteriorate further she knew she had to call an ambulance, despite George’s protestations that he was OK.

Amanda added: “I snuck out of the room and called 999. When the ambulance crew arrived everything happened very quickly. I was not even able to give him a kiss and a cuddle to say goodbye. As I was tearful and walking back to the house I just heard George shout ‘I love you’.

“That was the last time I heard his voice for more than three and a half weeks.”

Once he arrived at the hospital, George was taken into intensive care and put into a medically induced coma. Amanda says she was kept well informed by the nurses on the unit.

They gave me regular updates and even put a phone to his ear so that I could talk to him. One day shortly before he came round we tried this and they told me that his eyes were flickering and he was responding when I was talking. It really was the best news.

Amanda, George's wife

When George came round he as unable to walk the distance needed by the physios to be able to transfer him out of intensive care.

It meant he had to spend many hours in the night raising and lowering his legs to get his muscles working again.

Amanda says once he came round he really did "defy all of the odds". There was "no stopping him”.

Mr Barker said: “I thought the nurses were planning something, but I never expected to have a guard of honour as I left intensive care. Seeing them all cheering and clapping was such a surprise. Especially as I wanted to be the one clapping them.”

As his way of saying thank you, George has offered to do odd jobs for the nurses who cared for him through his business Dananglia Roofing.

When George came round he as unable to walk the distance needed by the physios to be able to transfer him out of intensive care. Credit: United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

I can never repay all of the doctors and nurses for what they did for me, but if ever they need any roofing work – they just need to give me a call and I will be there.

George Barker

The couple are looking forward to spending time together as George continues with his recovery.

Amanda added: “I can never say thank you enough, so again thank you to everyone at Pilgrim hospital for getting George back home with me, as my life would have been so worthless without him in it.”

  • Watch the moving moment George left intensive care:

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