'It was like something from a movie' - the Plymouth professor treated by his own students after contracting Covid-19

A university professor from Plymouth who was hospitalised with Covid-19 says he is thankful to be alive and described the ordeal as 'like something from a movie'.

Poorna Gunasekera is now back home recovering and says he is grateful for the NHS staff who saved his life - including some of his own former medical students.

Speaking to ITV News, Poorna recalls the bizarre experience of being admitted to Derriford Hospital's 'red zone' alongside the most critical Covid patients.

By that time I knew my situation was really bad. All resistance to the idea of hospitalisation had melted away. I knew I needed help.

Poorna Gunasekera

Read more: Coronavirus deaths and cases in the West Country

Poorna, who is a professor of biological science at the University of Plymouth, ended up being treated by some of his own former medical students.

Three of my former students who are superb professionals now, two doctors and a nurse, came and identified themselves. I couldn't have recognised them as they were covered from head to toe.

Poorna Gunasekera
Poorna was treated by some of his former medical students. Credit: Poorna Gunasekera

Cut off from his loved ones and with his health deteriorating, Poorna describes going through a kind of 'out of body experience'.

All my worries switched off. It was as if some higher source had told me stop worrying, everything is sorted.

Poorna Gunasekera

Gradually things began to improve, and after ten days in hospital Poorna is now back home recovering.

I was lucky enough to make it. Though we were never told, it was obvious that some were not making it through the red zone.

Poorna Gunasekera
Poorna with his partner Hayley. Credit: Hayley Newman

It is excruciating being apart from loved ones, but knowing the hope shone through the eyes of the medics was a great comfort. This experience really is a shared, global one. It drew us all so close from Sri Lanka to Cornwall and joined us in desperate prayer for Poorna. We are so blessed to have a second chance at life and happiness at our age. Covid-19 puts everything sharply in focus, and we’ve realised life is too short to waste. >

Hayley Newman, Poorna's partner

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