Family of west Belfast man who spent five days in induced coma fighting Covid-19 tell of joy as he arrives home

Billy Gorman video calling his wife, daughter and grand-daughter for the first time since being brought out of an induced coma while being treated in the intensive care unit of Belfast City Hospital for Covid-19
Marie Louise McConville

THE family of a west Belfast man who was given just two hours to live before spending five days in an induced coma fighting Covid-19 have spoken of their joy after he was released from hospital.

Rachel Gorman said seeing her 53-year-old dad Billy return to their Lagmore home after his time in the intensive care unit at Belfast City Hospital was "completely amazing".

The father-of-five, who has no underlying health conditions, became unwell at home around two weeks ago with an upset stomach.

A few days later, when the black taxi driver started to experience trouble with breathing, he rang 111 and was directed to go to A&E at the Royal Victoria Hospital where he was tested for coronavirus.

By the time the positive result came back, Mr Gorman's breathing problems had worsened and he was placed in an induced coma in intensive care.

Last Friday night, his wife was able to speak to him for the first time when a doctor used his own phone to connect his patient with his loved ones.

The following day, thanks to an ICU nurse also using her own phone, Mr Gorman was able to FaceTime his family, including his young grand-daughter Brea.

Rachel said "words can't explain" what it was like to finally speak to her father.

"It was absolutely amazing just being able to hear his voice," she said.

The 21-year-old said the family had not been expecting the Covid-19 diagnosis

"He was still walking up and down. He was just completely normal.

"It hit us like a tonne of bricks, it was awful."

She said she never gave up hope her father would survive.

"Everybody else in the family did have the fear of losing him but the whole time I just kept saying, `My daddy isn't ready to go. I can feel it. He will be all right. It is never going to happen to us. He is going to be fine'.

"It didn't really hit us until he went into the coma. It is horrible. You wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy."

On Tuesday, Mr Gorman's family were told he was all-clear and could go home although he will have to spend seven days isolated from other family members and wearing a face mask.

Rachel, who described the medical staff who treated her dad as "amazing", said on receiving the news of his discharge she "cried" her eyes out.

"Our daddy is our best friend," she said.

"We didn't give up hope at all".

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