COVID-19: nurse survivor’s tribute to the hospital colleagues who saved her life

Morale boost for staff as they see one of their own leave ICU

Cath Simpson of University Hospital of North Tees with nurse and COVID-19 patient Millie Magadlela

A nurse who survived COVID-19 said her colleagues’ care saved her life, as a video shows her leaving intensive care to rapturous applause.

Millie Magadlela had spent three days on a ventilator before being transferred to a general ward at her workplace, University Hospital of North Tees.

‘I am only here now because of those ICU staff’

Ms Magadlela, who is a staff nurse in the hospital’s surgical decision unit, recalled the moment she was transferred. She said: ‘I can’t say in words how it felt to have all of the staff there clapping and showing their support and love.

‘These people all saved my life. I am here now only because of them.'

‘I can’t properly thank all of the staff for what they have done for me. It was very different, seeing things from a patient’s view’

Millie Magadlela

Ms Magadlela said the first thing she did once she regained consciousness was to contact her husband and two sons.

Watch: Millie Magadlela greeted with applause as she leaves ICU

From nurse to patient – how events unfolded after calling NHS 111

She had begun to feel unwell three weeks ago and had made the decision to self-isolate. After her symptoms worsened, she contacted NHS 111, which called an ambulance for her.

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‘I was so tired and lacking in energy I couldn’t even wash myself for two days. I was hot and cold, with blankets on top of me,' she said. 'I felt awful.'

She was taken to hospital where she was assessed in emergency care and given antibiotics and had an X-ray.

‘Staff were overjoyed to see Millie make a recovery’

Stephanie Gale, critical care co-ordinator

Ms Magadlela, who has been a nurse for 39 years, was transferred to the emergency assessment unit and then to the respiratory unit before finally being moved to intensive care.

She added: ‘I can’t properly thank all of the staff for what they have done for me. It was very different, seeing things from a patient’s view. I’m very proud to be a nurse and so proud to work for the NHS.’

‘Millie’s recovery is a huge morale boost’

The hospital’s clinical co-ordinator in critical care, Stephanie Gale, said Ms Magadlela was the first COVID-19 patient who had been on a ventilator to be discharged.

‘Staff were overjoyed to see Millie make a recovery. It has given staff a huge morale boost at such an important time,’ she said.

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