Grandfather twice put on ventilator back home in Black Country one year after catching Covid

A grandfather whose family were warned to expect the worst has defied the odds and returned home one year on from contracting coronavirus.

Grandfather Leonard Redding has finally been reunited with family a year after being rushed to hospital with Covid
Grandfather Leonard Redding has finally been reunited with family a year after being rushed to hospital with Covid

Leonard Redding’s family were told to prepare for bad news after he was put onto a ventilator for the second time in hospital. He also had pneumonia, a stroke and a tracheotomy.

But the retired 70-year-old carried on fighting, and after months of care and rehabilitation, has returned home to his wife of 48 years Patricia.

Leonard did not display any of the traditional symptoms of Covid-19 initially, such as a continuous cough, fever, loss of taste and smell and breathlessness; but he did said he was feeling very cold.

Karen Billington, Leonard and Patricia’s daughter aged 43, said: “On Mother’s Day in 2020, Dad had started to feel very cold, dithery and just generally not right. He was like that for two weeks, with no classic symptoms at first.

“On April 7, my mum called her GP about dad’s condition who then called an ambulance. He was taken to Russells Hall Hospital, and the next day he was put on a ventilator for four weeks.

“Dad then deteriorated and was put on a CPAP machine and had a tracheotomy, he seemed to be doing well, but on May 31 he had to go back onto a ventilator and we were told to prepare for the worst.

“He had contracted pneumonia on top of coronavirus, and he also had a stroke somewhere along the line due to the virus.

“It was heartbreaking. Me and my parents and sister Becky have always been a very close family. My mom has been amazingly strong, and we have kept each other going throughout.

"Dad has been a fighter from the start, all he ever said is that he wanted to get back to his girls.”

Leonard is pictured with wife Pat, grandchildren Adam and Jack and daughters Karen and Becky

Leonard was put on a ventilator for a week the second time, before he was brought off it and had another tracheotomy fitted which is thought to have caused permanent damage to his vocal chords, as well as a peg fitted so he can be fed directly to his stomach.

Karen added: "When dad was in the ITU, the staff placed him at the window so that we could come and wave to him and see him although we weren't allowed in the hospital.

"His grandchildren used to take posters to show him through the window that they had made to show him we were thinking of him and missed him."

Although he progressed well, Leonard needed rehabilitative care as he struggled with mobility, and was moved to a care home in Wolverhampton on August 6.

Karen added: "They have worked miracles with him, although he has had two more admissions to hospital before Christmas he has now had his trachaotomy removed and the doctors are hopeful that the peg won't be permanent.

"He is now home with mum and is able to walk around the garden and is able to go up and down stairs without much support.

"It is the most amazing feeling to have him home, he has been an inspiration for the family and lots of other people.

"We are so proud, grateful and cannot thank NHS staff enough who have saved his life on more than one occasion, they always said to us that they wouldn't give up fighting as long as he kept fighting.

"A message that we all want to pass on is to take Covid seriously. You don't know how it will affect you.

"I know some people haven't experienced it and some have lost family and been worse off than us.

"It isn't always just a simple cough and cold, it can be terrifying. So please go and get vaccinated and wear a mask."

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