'I was expecting the call to say he had died': Daughter of Leeds 80-year-old who survived Covid-19

The daughter of an 80-year-old Morley man who has survived Covid-19 has paid tribute to the "amazing" doctors and nurses who cared for him  at St James's Hospital in Leeds.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 5:00 pm

Becky Barwick, of Gildersome, said her father Alan Stirk has recovered from the illness but faces a lengthy recovery and it is not yet known if he will be able to continue to live independently.

Mr Stirk's son Matt, 43, called for an ambulance after discovering his father had suffered a fall at home on Monday March 23 - the day the lockdown was announced.

Grandfather Mr Stirk was taken to Leeds General Infirmary by ambulance.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Alan Stirk pictured with daughter Becky Barwick.

Coronavirus was not suspected at that stage and Mr Stirk was transferred to St James's Hospital.

A nurse called Mrs Barwick the following day to say her father had a temperature and a cough and had tested positive for coronavirus.

Retired accountant Mr Stirk was moved to a Covid-19 ward at St James's that day.

On Saturday March 28, the hospital told Mr Stirk's family he had pneumonia and was receiving oxygen treatment and intravenous antibiotics.

Alan Stirk pictured with son Matt and daughter Becky Barwick

Mrs Barwick, 46, who works as an NHS manager for Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, spoke to the YEP as we continue our series of #healthheroes stories.

The YEP is celebrating health workers across Leeds, who are the very front line of keeping our nation safe during the coronavirus crisis.

Mrs Barwick said: "The whole of that week we had a call from the hospital every day to say he was still very unwell and unresponsive. The doctors didn't know if he would survive."

Mrs Barwick said her father was seriously ill on the ward for nine days before he started to recover.

She said: "The care he has received has been absolutely excellent. Everyone has been really kind.

"They took the time to contact me and have very honest discussions, which I really appreciated.

"We were definitely prepared for the worst possible outcome. For a week or so I was expecting the phone call at any second to say that he had died."

Mrs Barwick said her father, who remains in St James's, is walking with support and is having physiotherapy, but is suffering from temporary confusion.

She said: "Because he had pneumonia and was bed bound for nine days, his long term health will be affected. He might not be as mobile and independent as he was before."

"They do think he has got the potential to get better. He is definitely going to need some short term care, it is just whether he has that in his own home or a community care home."

Paying tribute to healthcare staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Mrs Barwick said: "Thank you for treating him with compassion during a really difficult time and thank you for treating me with compassion as well.

"I think they are doing an amazing job. They are coping at the moment more or less with the numbers and that's why we have got to stick to the lockdown to make sure the numbers don't go up and they don't become overwhelmed."