A nurse who had a nine-week battle with Covid-19 became the 1,000th patient to be discharged at a hospital trust.

Franco Palo, 47, who was discharged from Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow on Friday (June 27) after a nine-week battle with coronavirus, assured his wife “I will come back,” before being admitted to hospital.

After waking up more than a month later in intensive care, Mr Palo became around the 1,000th patient to be discharged at the London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust.

The senior charge nurse at Northwick Park Hospital for 19 years was originally suspected to have pneumonia and self-isolated, before his condition worsened with a high fever and shortness of breath.

He was then rushed to A&E struggling for air and was told he would need a breathing tube down his throat and into his lungs.

Mr Palo said: “I was shocked and scared. I told them I didn’t want ventilation because I knew it meant I was in a bad way.

“The first thing that goes through your mind is ‘will I ever wake up again?’

“It was really scary but my colleagues talked me round and the last thing I said to my wife after she gave the OK was ‘I will come back, I promise you I will come back.’

“No one is happier than me that I kept my word.”

Ealing Times:

Franco Palo was cheered out by his colleagues as he was discharged

But during his time in care, he became largely unaware of the process he underwent and even woke up after the battle questioning what happened.

During his time, he had to be transferred to the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea after his ventilator became increasingly ineffective.

The hospital had just one of the five extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines in the UK – a machine described as the ‘last hope’ for the sickest patients.

During his recovery, he was transferred back to Northwick Park Hospital and was cared for by many of his colleagues.

He said: “People have been so kind and supportive. I just want to say a big thank you to everyone. It felt like the whole hospital was on my side.”

His wife Grace Palo, who works as a senior sister in the same department, said: “It’s been a terrible ordeal but my kids never had any doubt their dad would pull through because they know he is a fighter.

“He’s always been popular, and I’ve had everyone from cleaners to consultants wishing my family the best. It means a lot to me and I never once heard anyone say he wouldn’t pull through.

“It’s been a tough battle for but my message to anyone struggling out there for whatever reason is not to give up. You have to keep trying.”

The father of three spent his final weeks in Gaskell ward, which was converted into a 33-bed step-down unit looking after patients transferred from intensive care.

He said that the recovery was not easy, but he is taking things “a day at a time” as he slowly moved from needing a walking frame, to a stick.

The nurse said that his faith and colleagues encouraged him to keep fighting, believing he heard a voice inside to ‘hold on’ during the difficult period.