Covid: UK’s longest-known patient dies after withdrawing from treatment

Jason Kelk spent 14-and-a-half months in hospital

Emily Goddard@emilysgoddard
Saturday 19 June 2021 18:38
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<p>Jason Kelk has died age 49</p>

Jason Kelk has died age 49

The UK’s longest-known Covid-19 hospital patient has died after choosing to withdraw from treatment because he could not “live like this anymore”.

Jason Kelk, 49, spent the past 14-and-a-half months in treatment after he was admitted to St James’ Hospital in Leeds in March 2020.

He was transferred to the nearby St Gemma’s Hospice, where he spent his final hours surrounded by his family on Friday.

His wife Sue Kelk wrote on Facebook: “It is with a very heavy heart that I have to share the sad news that Jason passed away peacefully at St Gemma’s at 12:40pm today.”

Ms Kelk said her husband made the decision to withdraw from treatment because the battle against the virus had become too much.

“He was my soulmate. We were opposite sides of the same coin – different but joined together,” she told Sky News.

On Thursday, Ms Kelk wrote on a GoFundMe page for her husband: “I am heartbroken to have to share this news with you all, Jason has had a serious setback. Over the last six/eight weeks I was hoping that he could fight back and once again hear the words, ‘Jason is once again on the path to home’, but sadly this is not to be.”

Mr Kelk, who had type 2 diabetes and asthma, was admitted to hospital with Covid-19 on 31 March and was transferred to intensive care just three days later.

He remained there, fighting for his life after the virus attacked his lungs and kidneys.

Mr Kelk went on to develop severe stomach issues that meant he had to be fed intravenously.

There were moments of hope, including when he managed to take a few steps in February and marked more than a fortnight without a ventilator in March.

But his condition deteriorated at the beginning of May and he had to restart the use of a ventilator before going on to develop two infections.

He was left needing a ventilator full-time again three weeks ago. Ms Kelk said it was at that point he decided he no longer wanted to continue treatment.

Following his death, his wife told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It was definitely important for him to do it on his terms. But he is leaving an awful lot of people absolutely bereft.

“People might not think he has been brave but, my God, he has been brave.

“I really think he has.

“And I just think that this is the bravest thing that you could ever do – to actually say, ‘I don’t want to live like this anymore.’”

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