Coronavirus: Survivor thanks hospital staff for their compassion

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media captionCoronavirus: Survivor thanks hospital staff for their compassion

A woman who nearly died from coronavirus has described the kindness of NHS staff who saved her life.

Fiona McGuigan, who spent 16 days at Wishaw General Hospital in Lanarkshire, said at one point she was afraid to fall asleep in case she didn't wake up.

But she was soothed by a nurse who held her hand and offered reassurance.

In a letter of thanks to staff, she said they went "above and beyond in all aspects of care" despite being afraid of picking up the virus themselves.

Another nurse bought her magazines and a third treated her to a cooked breakfast.

image captionMs McGuigan wrote to the hospital to thank staff for saving her life

Ms McGuigan told BBC One Scotland's Coronavirus: Scotland's Response that she believes she contracted the virus while on holiday with her daughter in Turkey.

When the pair returned home to Motherwell, her daughter began self-isolating after displaying symptoms including a fever and persistent cough.

When Ms McGuigan fell ill, she initially thought she had food poisoning.

But after her condition deteriorated she was admitted to hospital, where doctors confirmed she had tested positive for the virus.

Because she has asthma and diabetes, doctors told her family they should prepare for her not to recover.

image captionFiona thanked the health staff from ward 7 at Wishaw General

Ms McGuigan said at one stage she was so sure she was going to die she was frightened to fall asleep in case she did not wake up.

In her thank-you letter, she writes: "When I was afraid to go to sleep, Susan McPake held my hand;

"I thought I was going to die but she soothed me and said she would watch over me."

The high-dependency unit nurse told her there was "no chance" that the mum would die on her watch.

"The staff were all wonderful", she writes, "but a special mention to Margaret in ward seven for buying me magazines, Kat for buying me a cooked breakfast as a treat before being discharged, Susan Shearer and Susan McPake - both from medical high dependency - for going above and beyond in all aspects of my care."

She concludes the letter by saying she would not be alive were it not for the Wishaw General staff, adding that they are her "heroes".

image captionLeah said she was "so grateful" to the staff who took care of her mum

Ms McGuigan said that some of the hospital staff are terrified, but are going about their work with as much compassion as ever.

She recounted overhearing one member of the domestic services staff saying they were frightened to come into her hospital room, but came in anyway and got on with the cleaning.

Her daughter Leah, who is also a nurse, said it was "absolutely heartbreaking" to not even be able to speak to her mum when she knew she was so ill.

"When you don't know what's going on and all you're hearing is horror stories of people passing away with this - I wouldn't wish it on anybody," she said.

"You can't get near her, you can't hear her voice, or even just see her and you're just putting every bit of faith into those people that work in the hospital.

"I'm just so grateful. I had a bit of a break down on the phone one day... they reassured me on the phone and said they would look after her.

"I'm so glad they did."

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