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A senior accident and emergency nurse has been cheered and clapped out of hospital by his colleagues, after weeks of life-saving coronavirus treatment.
Franco Palo, a senior charge nurse at Northwick Park Hospital, has thanked his nursing peers who had been “so kind and supportive” during his nine-week Covid-19 ordeal.
“It was really scary, but my colleagues talked me round”
The father of three had first fallen ill a week after self-isolating as a precautionary measure.
Initially, he had been treated for pneumonia before being rushed to the accident and emergency department where he worked several days later with a high fever and shortness of breath.
Once admitted to the intensive care unit at the hospital, which is run by London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, Mr Palo was intubated and sedated for a month.
“I was shocked and scared. I told them I didn’t want ventilation because I knew it meant I was in a bad way,” said Mr Palo, who has worked at Northwick Park for 19 years.
“The first thing that goes through your mind is will I ever wake up again?” he noted.
“It was really scary, but my colleagues talked me round and the last thing I said to my wife after she gave the OK was ‘I will come back. I promise you I will come back.’ No-one is happier than me that I kept my word.”
During this time, Mr Palo had also been transferred to the Royal Brompton Hospital after his ventilator proved increasingly ineffective.
When transferred back to Northwick Park, Mr Palo was cared for by many nursing colleagues who knew him personally. “People have been so kind and supportive,” he said.
“I just want to say a big thank you to everyone. It felt like the whole hospital was on my side.”
Mr Palo spent his final weeks of hospital admission on the Gaskell Ward, which was converted into a 33-bed step-down unit looking after patients transferred from intensive care.
When clapped and cheered out of the hospital last week by his colleagues, it is believed that Mr Palo was almost the 1,000th coronavirus patient to be discharged by the London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust.
“It’s not been easy but I’m just taking things a day at a time and have moved from a walking frame to a stick to moving around by myself,” said Mr Palo.
“I saw my children a few weeks ago when they brought some homemade food in with Grace. That was really special.”
His wife, Grace Palo, who works as a senior sister in the same A&E department as her husband, said: “It’s been a terrible ordeal, but my kids never had any doubt their dad would pull through because they know he is a fighter.
“He’s always been popular, and I’ve had everyone from cleaners to consultants wishing my family the best,” north westshe said.
“It’s been a tough battle for but my message to anyone struggling out there for whatever reason is not to give up. You have to keep trying.”