A great-grandfather nicknamed ‘Uncle Albert’ who cheated death SIX times while battling coronavirus left doctors baffled – by making a miracle recovery.
Robin Jones, 79, was struck down with the virus after complaining of crippling stomach pain.
He tested positive for Covid-19 in April and spent ten weeks fighting for life in Hereford County Hospital.
Because of his diabetes and a recent operation to repair a perforated bowel, he was given high-flow oxygen to help him battle the virus.
Medics called his family on six separate occasions telling them he was 24 hours from death but each time, the retired builder rallied.
Incredibly, after ten weeks, Robin, affectionately nicknamed ‘Uncle Albert’ on account of his likeness to the Only Fools and Horses character, was discharged from hospital.
Inspiring video captured the moment medical staff formed a guard of honour and cheered as he left hospital last week.
His daughter Polly Jones, 51, who is a nurse, said: “I was coming home from work when my mum rang me saying my father had abdominal pain.
“I had to do a 999 call because he was really unwell. He didn’t want to go in because of the virus and he didn’t want to waste anybody’s time.
“However, when he went in, they found he had a perforated bowel. He also needed emergency treatment for Crohn’s Disease, which hadn’t previously been diagnosed.
“He deteriorated quickly with his respiratory functions in distress.
“In early April, they did a test and he tested positive for Covid-19.
“From that date, it was horrendous.
“We had a call from the hospital at one stage where they told us he is not going to make it to the morning.
“It was just a lot to take him but we prepared ourselves for the worst. Then we got a call from the hospital saying his condition had improved.
“We so relieved but over the next couple of weeks we kept getting the dreaded call saying he had gone downhill again and not to expect him to survive.
“It must have happened at least five or six times.
“He kept fighting and it was an emotional rollercoaster because one minute he was okay, then he wasn’t, then he was not, he’s not going to make it.
“He was on high flow oxygen, which is 15 litres of oxygen for a few days. It was all the hospital could do for him.”
Robin was finally discharged from hospital on May 26 and returned to his home which he shares with his wife-of-59-years, Pat, in Leominster, Herefordshire.
Polly added: “Everybody said we can’t believe he made it, that they pulled him through that. He remembers a few staff off there as well, who were very good to him.
“There was a lady called Beth from infection control who would sit with him and talk to him because he was lonely.
“We had ten weeks of on and off after that. After the first two weeks, it was definitely two months of touch and go.
“On that night where they said he won’t make it till morning, there was a night nurse who kept taking our call and was very good with us.
“Because he was delirious and unwell, he was trying to fight the nurses.
“He was pulling out his drip, pulling out the tube. The nurse would take the phone to him and my sister would say ‘Come on dad, take your tablets’.
“We were trying to support him, but he was just delirious. He’s a very good, loving man and it was just so difficult to hear that as we couldn’t see him.
“Added to the fact of not actually being able to physically see how unwell he was, it tore us apart. He wouldn’t ring, because he wasn’t strong enough.
“One of those times he was unconscious they did come and do an assessment from intensive care, but they said he wasn’t a candidate because he has diabetes.
“He just had that operation and they said he wasn’t strong enough to go there.
“Towards the end of April, there was a week of them saying that he’s not going to make it.
“They were very nice to us but I think they thought we were not accepting that they were going to put him on end of life care.
“They said if he deteriorates, we could come into the garden area and look through the window at him because nobody’s allowed in to see him or to say our goodbyes.
“It was really tough. I rang up one time and they said ‘We’re working on him now’.
“That was hard to take in as well. They said when they remove the oxygen, they will call us, but they didn’t as he kept fighting.
“Dad was very very hardworking all his life. He was just a grafter really.
“People call him either Uncle Albert, or Father Christmas, that’s how he’s known around the town. He’s got a lovely, warm sense of humour.”
To express their gratitude to the medical staff, Robin and his family have launched an appeal to raise money for the hospital.
People can donate to Robin’s fundraising efforts on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/255561235691597/1543768285814761/