St Leonards man thanks ‘dedicated’ NHS staff for saving wife in Covid battle

A man has thanked NHS staff for saving his wife’s life a year after she nearly died while battling Covid-19.

Last Christmas, Lisa Small, 47, of Ashbrook Road, St Leonards, fell ill with the virus in December 2020, along with the rest of her family.

Her condition got worse and she ended up spending almost three months in hospital.

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She had to have blood transfusions, suffered collapsed lungs and had to be fitted to a ventilator.

Lisa Small, second from left, with her family SUS-220401-120011001

Her husband, Richard, 52, said his wife of 20 years pulled through, thanks to the ‘hard work’ and ‘dedication’ of NHS staff.

He said: “One year ago my wife was in hospital fighting for her life due to Covid-19.

“She was admitted to the Conquest Hospital on December 11, 2020, unfortunately then had to be put in a medically induced coma, transferred to St Thomas Hospital in London and put on an ECMO machine.

Lisa in hospital SUS-220401-111540001

“I had numerous calls saying that I had to prepare for the worst and that she was not going to make it, one of them at 7pm on New Year’s Eve.

“She had two blood transfusions, collapsed lungs, six chest drains but by some miracle she pulled through.

“She then got moved to Rye Hospital for in-patient rehabilitation on February 1, 2021 and didn’t return home until February 25, 2021.

“She was gone for about three months in total, which because of Covid, I couldn’t go and visit her at all.

Lisa receiving rehabilitation in hospital SUS-220401-111552001

“It was a living hell for myself and our two children, one of whom is autistic.

“We would like to give a special mention and thanks to Nick McNeillis, from Conquest Hospital ICU, who battled for three hours to save Lisa’s life on January 10, 2021.

“When he rang me up that day he sounded absolutely shattered, drained and very emotional. It took everything he had to save her life.

“Words cannot express our gratitude to him and all the staff at the Conquest Hospital, St Thomas Hospital and Rye Hospital, who without their support and dedication, my wife would have definitely died.

“I would like to thank my mum and mother-in-law, as well as St Leonards Academy, who got in extra counselling for the kids because they were struggling. They made us gifts for the kids at Christmas. The messages of support we got were very touching.

“This Christmas and New Year has been so special to have my wife and kids’ mum home.”