'Never give up hope': Covid 'miracle man' Anthony home after six weeks in coma

A 'miracle man' who spent almost six weeks in a coma battling Covid has spoken of his joy when he returned home to his cheering family.

A welcome home kiss for Anthony Vincent from wife Suzette
A welcome home kiss for Anthony Vincent from wife Suzette

Grandfather-of-three Anthony Vincent, who suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, remembers nothing about his admittance to hospital and battle for life.

The 59-year-old only remembers being moved back to a ward at Walsall Manor Hospital where he started his recovery before being discharged on April 1 to his cheering and emotional family in Burntwood.

Mr Vincent, who was a landscape gardener before he became unwell with COPD, said he "thought it was his birthday" when he was told he would be going home.

Anthony Vincent back home with wife Suzette and children Connor, Ruby, Destiny and Summer

"I thought it was an April Fool's joke," he added. "I had to get a new bed downstairs and an ambulance took me home.

"I had a lot of people waiting for me outside, they were all cheering. It was amazing I was overwhelmed.

"I am just glad to be back home with my family and just want to be able to walk again.

"Words cannot explain how I feel about my wife as she is just amazing and I am now going to enjoy all my time with the family.

"I am seeing a physio so I'm hoping I'll be able to start walking again."

Now his wife is determined to tell their story to ensure that people "stay strong and fight for the survival of relatives" and advises them never give up hope of recovery even in the bleakest of moments.

Anthony Vincent back home with wife Suzette and children Connor, Ruby, Destiny and Summer

Mother-of-four Suzette Vincent, aged 34, became concerned when daughter, Summer, aged 11, developed a rash on her neck and a temperature at the beginning of January and booked her for a Covid test at Cannock on January 7 which proved positive.

Further tests revealed the whole family had the virus.

Suzette said: "Between us we had a range of symptoms, and my son, Connor, aged 15, had tonsillitis, while daughter Ruby, aged 10, had chest pain and a loss of taste, and six-year-old Destiny had no symptoms at all.

"I felt tired but Anthony had it worse as he struggles with his breathing and felt tired.

Anthony and Suzette Vincent were married in 2007 in Lichfield

"He's had COPD for about eight years, before Covid he was able to walk to the shops but he would become very breathless.

"I called the paramedics as he was struggling to breathe but he was not unduly concerned and said that he did not want to go into hospital and would manage with a nebuliser at home.

"But three weeks later, on January 30, his oxygen levels dropped and he was taken by paramedics to Walsall Manor Hospital.

Anthony and Suzette

"He seemed to perk up and then went for a scan which showed he had Covid pneumonia and he went into the intensive care unit and was placed on a machine with a special mask that forces air into the lungs.

"On the Tuesday they called to say they wanted to ventilate him and he was placed into a coma.

"When we arrived it was so scary, with patients everywhere and on ventilation, although it was very well managed with staff everywhere.

"Later that day he was placed on a ventilator and a week later I had a call saying that he was not responding and in the next 24 hours they would consider placing a do not resuscitate notice on him and withdrawing treatment.

Anthony Vincent back home

"I said that they should definitely not withdraw treatment and was then told he had a nasty infection that turned out to be connected to a line in his neck which had failed, which is very rare.

"Doctors decided to wait for the laboratory results and said that he might have picked up a new strain of Covid.

"He was ventilated for six weeks and then needed a tracheotomy and I asked about his speech and the doctors said that if he lost his ability to speak that would be an achievement.

"When they brought down his sedation to bring him out of a coma he seemed fixated on the ceiling and we were told he might have suffered brain damage or a stroke.

Anthony Vincent back home with wife Suzette and children Connor, Ruby, Destiny and Summer

"I was really concerned and worried about the consequences and questioned within myself whether we should have allowed treatment to be withdrawn.

"But he had a tracheotomy fitted and from then on went up and up and on April 1 was finally allowed back home, nearly six weeks after being placed in a coma.

"Anthony still cannot walk but the doctors are hoping that this will come back."

Mr Vincent, who is also father to Donna, 32, Tiffany, 21 and Ryan, 19, added: "I don't remember when I went into hospital, I only remember being moved from intensive care onto a ward.

Anthony Vincent back home with wife Suzette and children Connor, Ruby, Destiny and Summer

"It was a shock, I wondered what was going on and where I was. I was feeling terribly initially, couldn't move my legs or arms. I still can't walk."

Mrs Vincent said their youngest daughter Destiny cried for an hour when her father came home, then fell asleep next to him.

"Amazingly, he does not remember even going into the ambulance and we are just delighted to have him back home as the house seemed so empty without him, as he is literally the life and soul of the house," she added.

Fantastic

"The hospital called him a 'miracle man'. All the staff were absolutely fantastic.

"There were 18 people in ICU in the same bay and only two of them made it out."

Mrs Vincent now wants to tell other people in the same situation to "never give up hope".

"The important message I want to get across is that I want to give other families hope and despite what the doctors to have the strength to fight for their relatives as they know their family better than anyone.

"Frighteningly one nurse told me it all came down to numbers of beds and that had someone-else arrived, who did not suffer from COPD, things might have been different."

Report by Sue Smith

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