Bristol Lord Mayor recovering in hospital following medically-induced coma

Cllr Paul Goggin is hoping to be back in his ceremonial role in November. Credit: Bristol Design

The Lord Mayor of Bristol is recovering in hospital after being placed into a medically-induced coma for a month following a serious illness.Cllr Paul Goggin (Labour, Hartcliffe & Withywood) was admitted to Bristol Royal Infirmary with pneumonia on 30 June, and quickly developed pleurisy, which is inflammation of the lining of the lungs.

Following an operation to remove fluid from his chest and fit drain-pipes, he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where he remained for 12 hours.

He was sent home from hospital on 10 July, but returned 48 hours later.

By 23 July, he was back in ICU and was soon put into a medically-induced coma and onto a ventilator machine.

During this period, he also got connected to an external blood oxygen machine (ECMO) and a kidney dialysis machine.

The illness has left him unable to stand, walk or talk, and he is currently breathing through a surgically created hole in his windpipe called a tracheostomy.

Cllr Goggin was appointed Lord Mayor of Bristol in May 2023. Credit: Bristol Design

But in a humour-laden statement to councillors, Cllr Goggin said he hopes to be back in his ceremonial role by November.

He wrote: “It’s difficult to remember but I think I became properly conscious again around September 1.

“By this time, I’d managed to shed both the ECMO and kidney machines and was much less a part of the hospital’s plumbing.

“They’ve taken so much blood that I feel like I’ve been re-enacting Tony Hancock’s Blood Donor sketch and I’ve had so many scans that I probably glow in the dark!”

He added: “Physio and speech therapists have been helping me both to communicate and with my physical rehab and while I can’t yet stand or walk I’m growing stronger by the day.“I expect to lose the tracheostomy over the next few days.

Cllr Goggin also thanked the NHS for the support he has received. “Don’t let anyone tell you that the NHS is rubbish because I’m proof that it ain’t," he said.“I want to thank all the marvellous doctors, nurses, radiologists, therapists, support staff and everyone else for their many kindnesses shown to [lady mayoress] Debs during what’s been a harrowing time for her and to thank them for the lifesaving treatment that they’ve given me.“I’ve invited them all for tea in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour.”He said that the one thing the doctors could not fix was the boredom caused by not being able to do the job he had looked forward to so much and had enjoyed for the few weeks before becoming ill.“To misquote Mark Twain – and this happens to him all the time – ‘rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated’,” he added.Deputy lord mayor Cllr Paula O’Rourke (Green, Clifton), who chairs full council in his absence, told the meeting on 12 September: “Cllr Goggin has been very unwell for the past two months.“I’m pleased to report that his health is improving and I’m sure the chamber will join me in sending the lord mayor our very best wishes and hopes for a full recovery.”