NHS nurse determined to return to the front-line after nearly dying from coronavirus

Sue Snelson joined the health service in 1972

An NHS nurse who nearly died from coronavirus on the ward which she managed for 20 years has vowed to return to the front-line as soon as possible.

Sue Snelson joined the health service in 1972 but was hospitalised with Covid-19 in April and spent 11 days fighting for her life in the intensive care unit she once ran.

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She was treated by many former colleagues and at one point her condition was so grave nurses had to ring Sue's family to tell them she might not survive.

NHS Nurse determined to return to the front-line after nearly dying for coronavirusNHS Nurse determined to return to the front-line after nearly dying for coronavirus
NHS Nurse determined to return to the front-line after nearly dying for coronavirus | JPIMedia

After nearly three weeks in hospital the mum-of-one and step mum-of-five left the ward to a rapturous round of applause from dozens of colleagues and friends who lined the halls.

Steadfast Sue is still recovering at home in Scunthorpe, Lincs., but has vowed to return to Scunthorpe General, where she works and was treated, as soon as possible.

She said: "I will get back to work as soon as the doctors let me.

"I don't want to retire because of an illness, when the time comes I'm going to do it on my own terms.

"I've had a brilliant career with the NHS, I've loved it and I'm not ready for it to end yet."

Sue began working for the NHS as a nursing auxiliary in 1972 and completed nurse training in 1977 before joining Scunthorpe General Hospital as a staff nurse.

She then worked as the hospital's newly opened intensive care unit's clinical nurse manager between 1987 and 2008 before taking on a clinical specialist position, which she continues to work in to this day.

She said: "I can't wait to get back."

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Sue began feeling unwell in March but thought it was the knock on effect of shingles, which she had suffered from some weeks earlier, and two Covid-19 tests came back negative.

It wasn't until her breathing rapidly declined that she rang a colleague at the hospital, who advised her husband Tony, 66, to take her to hospital immediately.

Mechanical and welding supervisor Tony rushed his wife to Scunthrope General A&E and transferred to the ICU within hours and she tested positive for coronavirus.

She said: "I was critically ill, it was definitely a life threatening situation.

"Due to the treatment I was on I don't actually remember most of the time I was there.

"Lots of former colleagues were treating me, it must have been very difficult for them."

At one point hospital staff told Sue's husband she might have to be put on a ventilator, which she describes as "preparing him for the worst".

On May 5, 11 days after she was admitted, Sue's condition had improved and she was transferred to one of the hospital wards dedicated to coronavirus patients.

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She left the hospital to a guard of honour from staff on May 13. A video shot by a hospital worker shows the moving moment.

Sue said: "It was a really emotional moment. It came as a complete surprise to me, I wasn't expecting it at all."

Sue has paid tribute to the "incredible" staff at General Hospital for their care.

She said: "If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here today, I can't thank them enough."

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