Coronavirus: NHS heroes 'are like WW2 Spitfire pilots'

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Media captionGuard of honour when leaving hospital "one of the great moments of my life"

A man who spent five days in intensive care with coronavirus has compared NHS staff to "the Spitfire pilots of 1940".

Hylton Murray-Philipson, 61, hailed medics for helping him recover after Covid-19 left him "reduced to the state of a baby".

He spent 12 days in total at Leicester Royal Infirmary, after being admitted a day after his father died from a non virus-related illness.

As he left hospital, staff gave Mr Murray-Philipson a guard of honour.

The sustainable farmer, from Market Harborough, Leicestershire, told BBC Breakfast he had been ill at home with a consistent temperature of 40C (104F), but did not have a particularly bad cough and therefore was not sure if he had Covid-19.

But on the tenth day of feeling unwell, he was admitted to hospital and a couple of days later was moved to intensive care before being taken to a ward to recover.

Mr Murray-Philipson, who lost 15% of his body weight, said he now appreciates "every little thing", adding "for days I was fantasising about a piece of toast and marmalade. That's enough for me".

Image caption Hylton Murray-Philipson said he was "reduced to the state of being a baby" by the virus

The father-of-two, who had to celebrate his birthday in hospital, said: "When you are as ill as I was, you are reduced to the state of being a baby, completely dependent on others for every little thing.

"My birthday was an exciting day because by then I was able to sit on a chair beside the bed. That in itself was a giant step forward."

He praised NHS staff, saying: "These really are the heroes of the moment. These are the Spitfire pilots of 1940.

"We know how special the NHS is [but] the difference for me is I now know the individuals by name and I want to say thank you to all of those people from the bottom of my heart."

He returned home on Friday and said he was now "taking it day-by-day".

"I am trying to put on a bit of weight," Mr Murray-Philipson said.

"I am walking a little bit further every day. I can now walk 300 yards. I am grateful. I don't need steak frites or whatever. It's just the simple things."

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