The UK’s “longest Covid-19 resident” who has spent the past 14 and a half months in hospital has died after deciding he could no longer “live like this”.
Jason Kelk, 49, was admitted to St James’ Hospital, Leeds on March 31 last year and remained there until Friday when he was transferred to a hospice and died later in the day surrounded by his family. .
His distraught wife Sue Kelk, 63, said Jason’s battle had become too much and that he had come to the decision to stop all treatments.
Paying homage to her ‘soul mate’ for 20 years, Sue added: “He was so peaceful. It was very important for him to do it on his terms. But it’s leaving a lot of people absolutely hopeless. People might not think he was brave, but my God, he was brave. I really think it was. And I just think this is the bravest thing you can ever do: really say ‘I don’t want to live like this anymore’. ”
Jason, who had type II diabetes and asthma, was hospitalized on March 31 and a few days later, on April 3, was transferred to intensive care.
He has remained there ever since, fighting for his life on numerous occasions after the virus ravaged his lungs and kidneys.
Jason then developed such severe stomach problems that he had to be fed intravenously.
There was a moment of hope in March of this year when for 15 days straight he was able to breathe without the use of a ventilator. He had a 24/7 kidney filter removed and enjoyed family visits outdoors in the hospital park once a week. He revealed his hopes of returning to his home in Leeds, saying he wanted to “sit on our sofa and eat takeaway fish and chips with Sue while we watch television.” But he added: “I’ve lost hope on a few occasions, mainly because even now the destination I’m working towards seems so far away.” Jason’s recovery went well to the point where he was able to drink cups of tea and eat cakes and return to one of his passions: computer programming.
Unfortunately in early May he took a bad turn and had to spend a few days in and out of the ventilator before developing two infections.
She needed the full-time fan again three weeks ago and Sue said it was at that point that she decided she’d had enough.
“He just wanted it all to end. The antibiotics had worked, but his spirit was gone. ‘ Sue said Jason was surrounded by her, her mother, her father and her sister when he died this morning. He also leaves five stepchildren and eight grandchildren – two born last year that he never met – and another on the way.