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Long Covid: St Annes man 'never recovered' from long-term effects

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media captionRoehl Ribaya became the last patient to leave the unit in Blackpool, which saw a high rate of infections

A man who was the last patient to leave Blackpool Victoria Hospital's intensive care unit after being treated for Covid-19 in July has died.

Roehl Ribaya spent 60 days in intensive care in the summer but "never recovered" from the long-term effects of the virus.

His widow, nurse Stella Ricio-Ribaya, performed CPR on him when he suffered a cardiac arrest.

She told the BBC: "He was taken too soon."

The Filipino aerospace engineer's family said the virus had taken a heavy toll on the 47-year-old even after he was discharged from hospital on 14 August.

He had a cardiac arrest on 13 October and was in a coma until he died two days later.

image copyrightFamily photograph
image captionRoehl Ribaya was "very funny and always joking around", said his friend Mark Delabajan

Mrs Ricio-Ribaya, who lives in St Annes in Lancashire, said: "He was never the same. He was so breathless all the time.

"Please follow the government's advice so we can stop this virus.

"We don't want any more to die."

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Close friend Mark Delabajan said the family were "devastated".

He said Mr Ribaya's cause of death was cardiac arrest with the secondary cause given as post-Covid pulmonary fibrosis.

"It was long Covid. His breathing was never the same and he couldn't get up the stairs," he said.

"He was rushed back into hospital a number of times."

image captionRoehl Ribaya's wife Stella Ricio-Ribaya said he remained breathless after being discharged

Mr Ribaya arrived at the Blackpool hospital on 29 May and spent 48 days in intensive care on a ventilator.

In July, when he was clapped out of intensive care, lead consultant Dr Jason Cupitt said it signalled the hospital had "survived the first wave of this silent killer".

Kevin McGee, chief executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We were extremely saddened to hear about the death of Roehl and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time."

image copyrightBlackpool Victoria Hospital
image captionIn July, Dr Jason Cupitt (centre) said Mr Ribaya's discharge from hospital showed "we have survived the first wave"

Mr Delabajan said Mr Ribaya was the "life and soul of the party... very funny and always joking around".

"The staff in Blackpool Victoria Hospital were very fond of him," he added.

Mr Delabajan's wife Angela has set up a fundraising page on Go Fund Me to raise money for Mr Ribaya's family.

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