Kate Garraway’s husband Derek’s six-month battle with coronavirus ‘becomes the longest in the UK’… as lobbyist makes ‘very slow’ progress
- Derek, 53, was first hospitalised on March 29, he was on a ventilator and put in an induced coma shortly after before he was woken up in July
- The former lobbyist is said to be one of ‘only a handful’ of people to be in hospital for six months with coronavirus
- Derek’s progress is said to be ‘very slow’, and it was claimed the ordeal has been ‘incredibly tough for Kate’ because of Derek’s fluctuating physical health
- On Friday Kate offered viewers an update on her husband’s condition, as she admitted it had been a ‘tough’ week for the family
- Kate revealed doctors had warned her Derek wouldn’t survive, and expressed her shock at seeing his appearance as he struggled to fight the virus
- Derek is one of an estimated just five people in the world whose bodies have been damaged so much by COVID-19
Kate Garraway’s husband Derek has reportedly become the longest surviving patient with coronavirus, after spending 184 days in and out of intensive care.
The former lobbyist, 53, was first hospitalised with the disease on March 29, he was on a ventilator and put in an induced coma shortly thereafter before he was woken up in July, but progress is said to be ‘very slow.’
According to a report from The Sun on Monday, Derek is one of ‘only a handful’ of people to be in hospital for six months with coronavirus.
Fighting it: Kate Garraway’s husband Derek’s six-month battle with coronavirus ‘becomes the longest in the UK’, it was claimed on Monday (pictured December 2019)
A source speaking to the publication claimed: ‘Kate has been so brave and her strength is awe-inspiring. But the truth is that progress is very, very slow.
‘Derek has now been hospitalised for six months which makes him one of only a handful of people who have been in hospital for this long.
‘It’s incredibly tough for Kate though because some days he shows signs of improvement, and then 24 hours later he has taken a worrying turn for the worse. It’s literally one step forward, two steps back.’
Worrying: Derek’s progress is said to be ‘very slow’, which a source claimed has been ‘incredibly tough for Kate’ because of his fluctuating physical health (pictured July 2020)
The source went on to claim that Kate is thankful Derek is ‘still here’ as it means she has hope he will pull through after so many have lose their loved ones.
According to the publication, Fatima Bridle was the longest-surviving patient with COVID-19 before returning home in August, after 141 days in hospital at the time.
MailOnline has contacted Kate’s representatives for comment.
Illness: Derek was first hospitalised with the disease on March 29, he was on a ventilator and put in an induced coma shortly thereafter before he was woken up in July
On Friday Kate offered viewers an update on her husband’s condition, as she admitted it had been a difficult week for the family.
She turned to co-host Ben Shephard, 45, and said: ‘Tough week with Derek. It has been a tough week.’
Later in the show, Lorraine Kelly appeared on screen to discuss what would be coming up on her show, and said: ‘I’m sorry to hear it’s been a tough week, Kate – but we love having you on the telly!’
Derek was hospitalised after suffering serious complications from Covid-19 and has remained in intensive care ever since, in a minimally conscious state from which no one knows if he will ever recover.
Strong: On Friday Kate offered viewers an update on her husband’s condition, as she admitted it had been a ‘tough’ week for the family
Speaking to the Mail On Sunday’s YOU magazine about the family’s ordeal earlier this month, Kate revealed doctors had warned her Derek wouldn’t survive, and expressed her shock at seeing his appearance as his ‘worn-out and thin’ body struggled to fight the virus.
Derek, who she revealed has lost eight stone during the battle, is one of an estimated just five people in the world whose bodies have been damaged so much by Covid.
Kate recalled: ‘Doctors were saying, “He’s not going to make it.’
Unable to breathe, he was put into a medical coma to give his lungs a rest. Before he went under, he called Kate and said, “I love you, you’ve saved my life.”
A timeline of Derek’s coronavirus battle
Kate revealed she and Prince Charles had got ‘relatively close’ at the Prince’s Trust Awards on March 11 – Charles was diagnosed with coronavirus in mid-March.
She said: ‘Around the 29/30 March, I came home came in and said [to Derek] ‘god you look ill.’
‘He said he had a headache, numbness in his right hand, and was struggling to breathe,
‘I rang Dr Hilary (Jones) and tried to get through, he talked to Derek. He said put me back on, I think you need to call an ambulance’
Derek, 52, was taken into hospital on March 30 and remained in an unresponsive condition.
Kate and her children isolated at home after she displayed ‘mild symptoms’.
Kate said: ‘Derek remains in intensive care and is still very ill. I’m afraid it remains an excruciatingly worrying time.
‘I’m afraid he is still in a deeply critical condition, but he is still here, which means there is hope.’
Kate said: ‘The journey for me and my family seems to be far from over as every day my heart sinks as I learn new and devastating ways this virus has more battles for Derek to fight.
‘But he is still HERE & so there is still hope.’
That month, Kate and her family took part in the final clap for carers
She said: ‘I’ll never give up on that because Derek’s the love of my life but at the same time I have absolute uncertainty’
On June 5, Kate revealed Derek is now free from coronavirus but continues to fight against the damage inflicted on his body
On July 5, Kate revealed Derek has woken from his coma but he remains in a serious yet critical condition.
On July 8, she announced she would be returning to GMB, after being urged by doctors to ‘get on with life’ during Derek’s recovery.
She added that Derek had ‘opened his eyes’ after waking from his coma, but has been told his recovery could take years.
On July 13, Kate returned to GMB for the first time since Derek was hospitalised.
On July 28, Kate revealed she’d paid an ‘extra emotional’ first visit to Derek, and admitted she’s ‘frustrated’ by his slow progress.
Kate discussed wanting to donate her blood plasma to Derek in a bid to help him in his battle.
At the time, Kate said Derek ‘is very much still with us,’ but it is still a ‘waiting game’.
Kate offered viewers an update on her husband’s condition, as she admitted it had been a ‘tough’ week for the family.
Derek battle with COVID-19 reportedly become the longest in the UK, after spending 184 days in and out of intensive care.
For several weeks, the family’s only contact with Derek was through hospital staff, so when Kate first saw her husband, she found him unrecognisable.
Kate recalled: ‘When I finally got to FaceTime him, seeing him unconscious was a big shock.
‘He’s lost nearly eight stone in weight, a lot of it muscle throughout his body. He looked worn-out, thin and pale with dark circles under his eyes and there were lots of tubes.’
Kate contracted coronavirus herself at the same time as Derek, but made a full recovery.
Kate contracted coronavirus herself at the same time as Derek, but made a full recovery.
Last month, the presenter discussed wanting to donate her blood plasma to Derek in a bid to help him in his battle.
The TV host said she she was ‘desperately researching anything she could do to help’ her husband who remains very sick in hospital.
Her GMB co-host Adil Ray, 46, said: ‘On the show last week, you would have seen Kate talking about the potential importance of blood plasma transfusions for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
‘That day the number of people offering to donate went up 300 per cent.
Kate said: It’s a lovely lovely thing. The process which is similar to giving blood, only takes 45 minutes and can be used to help treat patients who aren’t producing enough of their own antibodies to fight COVID-19.
‘The reason it’s popped up, why I was talking about it, was because when Derek first got sick, I was desperately researching anything I could do to help.
‘I watched him be consumed by the virus despite all the brilliant efforts of those around trying to help him in the NHS.’
She continued: ‘I was told at the time, because it was one of the ideas I had, ‘what about giving my blood, there are antibodies in my blood because I’ve had it, will that help?’ they said no because the trials for it hadn’t really started.
‘I started talking about it last week because I found out that now it is being used which is fantastic.’
Adil said: ‘Kate, I will say this, you’re so inspiring at a time like this.’
Kate replied: ‘I don’t know about that, I feel very emotional about it actually, not just the idea that people are coming forward but that it might save lives.
Kate revealed she is reluctant to talk about Derek ‘every week’ on the show as she doesn’t want to upset viewers, but was reassured by Adil that she has been ‘inspiring.’
Kate said Derek ‘is very much still with us,’ but it is still a ‘waiting game’.
In July Derek emerged from his deep coma and started showing some signs of consciousness, occasionally opening his eyes.
Only a few weeks ago, Kate was finally allowed to visit Derek in hospital. Coronavirus precautions mean the children and Derek’s parents haven’t been able to yet.
She admitted: ‘I see him quite infrequently, not as often as I’d wish’.
Discussing the moment doctors told her that Derek may never recover, Kate confessed that she threw up in shock.
She said: ‘We hope and believe he will come out of it, but we just don’t know.
‘The heart of the family has been ripped out and we don’t know if we will ever get it back.’
Giving an update on his condition, she continued: ‘At first it was all about Derek’s lungs.
‘But then his kidneys started failing and he was on dialysis. Now they’ve realised Covid can affect every cell of the body: most recently Derek’s been having problems with his intestines.
‘The absorption of food and vomiting are problems and they’re trying to work out whether that’s because his cells don’t produce the enzymes to digest.
‘His liver and heart and blood vessels have been affected.’
Last month, Kate revealed she paid an ‘extra emotional’ first visit to Derek, as he continues to slowly recover from COVID-19.
Heartbreaking: Kate revealed earlier this year doctors had warned her Derek wouldn’t survive, and expressed her shock at seeing his appearance as his body struggled to fight the virus
The Good Morning Britain presenter also told Ben Shephard that it was ‘lovely’ to see her partner as (28 July) was his 53rd birthday, but she continues to be ‘frustrated’ by his slow progress.
Kate told Ben: ‘I did go and see Derek, he’s had a tough couple of weeks, and it’s just frustrating.
‘It would have actually been his birthday today so I was extra emotional so I was thinking about the day he was born.
She added: ‘What the doctor said to me was, ‘Sometimes, Kate, a day when nothing has gone backwards is a positive’.’
As Ben agreed that Derek had ‘a stable day,’ Kate added: ‘It’s just I’m desperate for a step forward. It’s always lovely to see him and so it’s wonderful to have the chance to see him.’
Doting mother: Kate and Derek married in 2005, and share daughter Darcey, 14, and son Billy, 11 [pictured in December]
Kate and Derek married in 2005, and share daughter Darcey, 14, and son Billy, 11.
Earlier this year, Kate took a break from work in order to look after their children in lockdown and be there for Derek.
The journalist made a welcome to present Good Morning Britain in July after being away for 14 weeks and has now announced she will be returning to her Smooth Radio show so Derek ‘can hear my voice as well as many of the songs we both love.’
The broadcaster also confirmed she would be heading back to the Global studios in London to record her show from 10am to 1pm every day, after her friend Myleene Klass filled in for her.
As she announced her return to the airwaves, Kate acknowledged the frightening circumstances she currently faces, but hopes work will provide a welcome distraction for both herself and her husband.
Heartbreaking: Discussing the moment doctors told her that Derek may never recover, Kate confessed that she threw up in shock [pictured in 2008]
She said to The Sun: ‘I’m delighted to be returning to my morning show on Smooth and to my Global family who have been a big support to me.
‘Things are still hugely challenging and a long way from being normal, but I’d like to think that this will give Derek yet another opportunity to hear my voice as well as many of the songs we both love.
‘My heartfelt thanks go to Myleene Klass who has been brilliantly caretaking the show for me and to all my regular listeners for their messages of support.’
Throughout all this, Kate has been holding the fort at home, trying to present a chipper front for the sake of the children.
REVEALED: HOW THE CRUEL LEGACY OF COVID MAY LAST A LIFETIME
Covid-19 could leave survivors with debilitating illnesses that last for years, doctors have warned since the outbreak spiralled out of control.
One leading medic called it ‘this generation’s polio’ – a disease that killed thousands and left a generation with life-long mobility issues.
Patients who spend weeks fighting the disease can suffer from long-term complications caused by permanent damage to their lungs and liver, but serious problems can also blight people who only have a minor illness.
SCARRING AND LONG-TERM LUNG DAMAGE
Several recent studies have highlighted proof Covid-19 causes fibrosis – scarring of the lung tissue – that makes it harder for the organs to work.
A research paper published in a Chinese journal in March said ‘pulmonary fibrosis may be one of the major [long-term] complications in Covid-19 patients’.
A build-up of scar tissue in the lungs can reduce their capacity to absorb air, leaving a patient with breathing difficulties, shortness of breath or a cough.
Insufficient oxygen also has knock-on effects on the other vital organs, which rely on the chemical to work. Without it, they cannot work as efficiently and may start to fail or work less efficiently.
Failing kidneys may result in a patient needing long-term medication or dialysis, while a severely damaged liver could require a transplant to treat.
IMMUNE SYSTEM OVER-REACTION CAN DAMAGE HEART, LIVER & KIDNEYS
Evidence is also emerging that the virus may affect the the liver, kidneys, heart and blood vessels because of the way it can force the immune system to attack healthy parts of the body.
As well as the potential of immediate death in the case of kidney failure, a heart attack or a stroke, any damage to these vital organs can cause lifelong disability and dramatically increase the risk of dying young.
A paper in the journal JAMA Cardiology in March reported a fifth of patients in a group of 416 who were hospitalised in Wuhan, China, had suffered heart damage.
Another study in Wuhan found that 16 out of 36 intensive care patients developed irregular heartbeats, called arrhythmia, which can weaken the heart’s ability to pump blood.
Coronavirus can also cause blood clots, scientists say, which raise the risk of stroke or heart attack.
The heart problems are thought to occur as a result of the virus triggering a ‘cytokine storm’, where the immune system overreacts to the infection.
GROWING EVIDENCE OF BRAIN DAMAGE AND NEUROLOGICAL EFFECTS
Long-term brain damage may also be a consequence of Covid-19 infection, according to emerging research of patients who caught it.
Doctors around the world say they are seeing growing numbers of people with neurological symptoms such as headaches, loss of smell and taste, tingling sensations, losing the ability to speak and even seizures and strokes, the BBC reported.
Dr Elissa Fory, from the Henry Ford Foundation in Detroit, said: ‘We don’t know yet if the encephalopathy [brain damage] is more severe with Covid-19 than with other viruses, but I can tell you we’ve been seeing quite a lot of it.’
Symptoms affecting the brain are harder to measure and track – it took months for officials in the UK to admit a lost sense of smell was a symptom of coronavirus – but they can be permanent.
HOSPITAL STAYS AND TREATMENT CAN BE DEBILITATING
As well as damage caused by the virus itself, patients who are seriously ill with Covid-19 – particularly those in intensive care – will suffer long-term health problems just from being in hospital.
Physiotherapists warn patients muscles start to waste away quickly when they are in hospital beds, which can leave them with mobility problems for a long time – especially if they are already elderly, which many coronavirus patients are.
People’s lungs can also be irreparably damaged by ventilators, the intensive care machines which help people to breathe when they cannot do it alone.
The machines work by blowing air into the lungs through a tube inserted directly down the throat and into the airways. The pressure of the air being forced into the lungs can tear and split the delicate tissue inside the lungs and leave them permanently damaged. This is a trade-off: the machines are usually a last resort for people who can’t breathe on their own and would die without the ventilator.
People who get seriously ill are also at a risk of developing depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of their ordeal after the initial infection has gone.
EVEN MILD ILLNESS CAN DRAG ON FOR MONTHS
There is growing evidence that even mild Covid-19 can have long-lasting consequences and the UK Government last weekend launched a study into the after-effects of the illness.
Experts on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warned that Covid-19 patients could be left with ‘extreme tiredness and shortness of breath for several months’ even if they were not hospitalised.
Concerns about the lasting effects of the illness were discussed in a SAGE meeting which took place on May 7.
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, revealed some patients need psychological treatment for ‘post-intensive care syndrome’.
And another scientific advisor to the Government told The Telegraph that ‘a very high proportion’ of Covid-19 survivors ‘cannot get back to a normal life’.
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