Father-of-two breaks hospital record after five-month Covid battle

Rajinder Singh leaves Royal Papworth Hospital after Covid battle

Rajinder Singh received a round of applause from staff as he left Royal Papworth Hospital after having the longest stay on an incubator compared to any Covid patient at the hospital. - Credit: Keith Heppell

A father-of-two who has battled Covid-19 for over five months in a Cambridgeshire hospital said he is feeling “stronger every day” after being discharged.  

Rajinder Singh was admitted to Royal Papworth Hospital on January 31 and put onto Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO).

ECMO is an artificial lung which oxygenates blood outside the body allowing someone’s lungs to recover while medical and nursing teams apply other treatments. 

Of the 142 days in critical care, Mr Singh spent 132 of those on ECMO, the longest time a patient at the hospital has spent on the ventilation method. 

“The staff have been kind, compassionate and helpful,” Mr Singh said. 

Rajinder Singh leaves Royal Papworth Hospital after Covid battle

Rajinder Singh received a round of applause from staff as he left Royal Papworth Hospital after having the longest stay on an incubator compared to any Covid patient at the hospital. - Credit: Keith Heppell

“Throughout my stay, my family were always spoken to and given updates on my condition, sometimes multiple times a day.   

“I feel stronger every day. I can’t wait to see my children and give them a hug; I’ve missed them so much.”   

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Mr Singh, 38, who stayed at Royal Papworth Hospital for a total of 151 days, was put into an induced coma in January from which he awoke in April. 

He was then discharged on July 1 and will continue his recovery at his local hospital in Essex where he lives with his wife, Sukhpal, and two children. 

“I’m not going home yet but I’ll be a few miles from my home so hopefully it will be easier for my wife to visit me more often,” Mr Singh said. 

The average length of time Royal Papworth patients are supported on ECMO before the Covid-19 pandemic was around 14 days, which increased during the first wave in spring last year. 

“Before Covid-19, it would have been unfathomable to support a patient on ECMO for so long,” Jo-anne Fowles, consultant nurse for ECMO and critical care at Royal Papworth Hospital, said. 

“During the first surge, the average time for our Covid-19 patients on ECMO was extended to more like 30 days, but some patients needed much longer.  

Rajinder Singh leaves Royal Papworth Hospital after Covid battle

Rajinder Singh received a round of applause from staff as he left Royal Papworth Hospital after having the longest stay on an incubator compared to any Covid patient at the hospital. - Credit: Keith Heppell

“Mr Singh is the longest we have ever supported a patient on ECMO at Royal Papworth Hospital.” 

Ms Fowles added: “During the past five months, all the staff who work on critical care have got to know Rajinder well.   

“To see his condition improve to the point where we could discharge him to our colleagues on our respiratory ward and then back to his local hospital is wonderful.” 

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