NHS’ most prolific Covid-19 plasma donor returns to thank ICU staff

The NHS’ most prolific Covid-19 plasma donor has returned to the hospital where he was treated with a drawing to thank Intensive Care Unit staff for their care.

Darren Buttrick (former patient) Cathy Watkins (ICU Physiotherapist), Joanne Roberts (ICU Sister) and Kate Holden (Critical Care Outreach Sister).
Darren Buttrick (former patient) Cathy Watkins (ICU Physiotherapist), Joanne Roberts (ICU Sister) and Kate Holden (Critical Care Outreach Sister).

Darren Buttrick, from Coven, asked his neighbour to draw a picture of him lying in a hospital bed with an angel pictured at the back of him.

The angel represents four nurses named his “four angels”, that Darren says saved his life.

The 49-year-old was told to “phone his family and say his final goodbyes” after he was rushed to hospital in March 2020. However, after spending 10 days on ICU, he was discharged after receiving what he describes as “second to none” care from the nurses at New Cross Hospital.

Having developed symptoms of Covid-19, Darren tested positive on March 14, 2020.

Darren, who is head of sales at 02, said: “I was absolutely petrified and I was very confused as to what was happening – I was young, healthy and had no underlying health conditions – yet I had to be put onto oxygen.

“My case, alongside many others, shows how serious Covid-19 can be and we must do all we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

Darren said he didn’t remember much about his stay in hospital but he explained that: “I was told that the nurses would stay by my side giving constant updates to my wife and three children.

"The only thing I remember was waking up from a coma to find that the nurse facetimed my wife as I was slowly beginning to come off my life support machine.

“They really helped my family feel a part of my journey even when they weren’t there physically.”


Gerardine Hardisty, is a senior sister on ICU who alongside other members of staff cared for Darren throughout his journey in hospital.

She said: “It was very emotional to see Darren looking so healthy and happy. On the unit you see people at a very low point in their lives due to their illness and to see our patients recovered and looking so well is amazing.

“It inspires us even more to do our job and we really appreciate Darren taking the time to come back and see us – we wish him lots of happiness.”

After his recovery, Darren received a phone call from the NHS Blood and Transplant service asking him to join others by donating his blood plasma.

The plasma is transfused into patients who are struggling to develop their immune response and in April last year he completed his first round.

Darren has helped 48 people with Covid-19 by donating his high antibodies and in February this year he received a certificate from the NHS to thank him for his tremendous work and named him as the country’s ‘most prolific convalescent plasma donor’.

Darren said: “I want to do all I can to help our wonderful NHS, the nurses saved my life and I will always be grateful for them.

"This is why I’m returning to ICU to give them a hand drawn picture, something that will always be so special to me and my family and also something to show their patients – just like a symbol of hope.”

Aside from his full time job, Darren now spends his time volunteering at vaccination centres on the weekend and wishes to take up further voluntary work at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust in future.

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