A father of three who survived COVID-19 has revealed how nurses gave him 15 minutes to call loved ones in case he never came out of intensive care.
He told Sky News: “I was struggling to even dial the numbers on my phone, going to the memory bank, picking out people’s numbers, ring family, ring friends – it was just awful having to explain.
“I’d cried and I’d begged the doctors and the nurses prior not to let me die. I pleaded, I begged.
“And then having to say to Angela, my parents, my brothers, my sister, family, friends, that this could be my last conversation, I love them, it was very emotional, very distressing and I just sat there crying.”
His wife Angela said the decision to escalate his treatment to intensive care came as a shock to her and their three teenage daughters.
“I just collapsed to the floor, I couldn’t function. As soon as I put the phone down from him… I’d ring again and it was like I needed to speak to him constantly before they put him under.”
Darren, 48, was put into a coma then onto a ventilator at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital.
He’d had a fever above 40C (104F) and said breathing felt like he was being “strangled”.
He had no underlying health conditions when he fell ill with the virus on 11 March. He described those who cared for him as “angels”.
“The one nurse, she looked me in the eye and she said, ‘Don’t you worry, we will save you’, and she was stroking my arm.
“I remember her saying to me, ‘Count to 10’. I think I got to three, and I thought I may never wake up now – that could be me gone. Luckily I did and I came out the other side.”
Mr Buttrick, who works for a large telecoms company, has made a full recovery but said he’s having trouble forgetting what he witnessed.
“Seeing other people in intensive care for the two days when I was semi-conscious, hearing the machines, seeing the people just lying there with pipes, pumps, machines keeping them alive, was just awful to see and it’s probably images that stay with me now and forever.”