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Survivors of the virus – but how?

07 May, 2020 — By John Gulliver

Sir David Hare: ‘Knowledge’

ONE of our leading playwrights, Sir David Hare, who survived an attack of Covid-19, is annoyed with Boris Johnson – and I can understand why.

In an article in last week’s New Journal he put his own survival down to luck and the care of his first-class GP, not his character.

But Johnson, who spent three days in intensive care at St Thomas’s Hospital struck down by the disease, is reported to have said he pulled through because of his own survival instinct.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson: ‘Instinct’

And that has annoyed David Hare who sent me an email saying: “Johnson was at it again saying some animal instinct for survival meant he didn’t die. No, actually. The nurses and doctors’ expertise – not their dedication, nor their courage – but their knowledge and judgment, their experience and their training is what saved him, as it saved me.”

Johnson did profusely thank his nurses and doctors for saving his life.

But, having talked to doctors recently, it seems patients who survive days spent in intensive care are very emotionally affected by it – many know they are facing death – and the longer their stay in ITU the deeper the emotion. In some cases a patient can take more than a year to get over it. Is it possible that Johnson who previously did not see the NHS as a political priority has had a Road to Damascus moment?

Stranger things have happened to politicians, as to other people.


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