PENSIONER Stephen Carr says doctors didn’t expect him to live when he arrived at York Hospital with severe coronavirus symptoms early last month - and he even signed a ‘do not resuscitate’ form.

But after five weeks of “brilliant” treatment, the 71-year-old York pensioner has now returned to his home in The Groves to continue his recovery.

He said medics were amazed by the way he had fought off the virus. “They said I was very, very lucky to survive,” he said.

He believed his survival was thanks to the care provided by the hospital’s doctors, nurses and other staff, saying: “They couldn’t do enough for me. They even baked me a cake when I had my birthday in there!

“I won’t have a word said against them. It was unbelievable the care that I got.”

The former York factory worker revealed that this was the second time in six months he had survived against the odds, having been in hospital for two months last autumn after suffering an abscess on the brain.

Mr Carr, of Lowther Street, said the coronavirus drama started when he had suddenly collapsed at home one night early in April.

“I went to go to the toilet and collapsed in the bedroom,” he said. “I was just coughing and coughing.”

His wife Kathryn dialled 999 for an ambulance, and paramedics arrived and took him straight to hospital, where a test confirmed their suspicions that he had Covid-19.

“I was in intensive care for a week, unconscious and on a ventilator, and I didn’t come round until about a week later,” he said.

“I didn’t know what was going on, but it was terrible for my wife, who couldn’t see me for five weeks.

“I’d like to thank a friend of ours, Christine Barklem, who rang me up every day and kept my spirits up.”

He said he was one of three patients who were applauded off Ward 39 by staff in one day earlier this month, and was continuing to recover now at home. “I am getting there,” he added.

Mrs Carr said her husband had suffered what they initially thought was a cold and then virtually slept non-stop for a week before his sudden collapse.

She said that hospital staff warned her it “could be end of life” and he went on a ventilator on a converted high dependency unit for about a week, and even when he was transferred on to Ward 39, a doctor told her: “He isn’t out of the woods yet.”

Mrs Carr, 61, who herself works as a cleaner at the hospital and has been married to Stephen for 19 years, said: “It was awful. I couldn’t sleep.”

She said she had to isolate for 14 days after his diagnosis, but appeared to have only suffered mild coronavirus symptoms, such as a sore throat.

She said she wasn’t able to see her husband for the five weeks, despite working elsewhere in the hospital, and when she wanted to give him things - such as a present on his 71st birthday - she would have to pass them on to another member of staff to hand to him.

Mrs Carr added that she took part in the ‘clap for carers’ every Thursday evening to show her appreciation for the work of all NHS staff and carers, and did so outside the hospital entrance last week.