A devoted wife is ready to welcome her husband home from his incredible fight for life after he was given “zero chance of survival” from coronavirus.
Sue Martin, 49, told Radio Four’s Today show how she went to hospital with her children to say their final goodbyes to diabetic husband Mal, 58.
She was given the devastating news that “very, very healthy” Mal had “zero chance” of pulling through by doctors.
But Sue and children Hana, 16, and William, 13, have now been told that he should be home this week – three months after his coronavirus fight began.
Civil servant Sue, of Cardiff, said: “The public reaction to the interview was as unexpected as it was incredible.
“I was sent thousands upon thousands of messages and letters of love and support from people I’d never met, people from all over the world who’d been moved by Mal’s story.
“And those messages haven’t stopped. So, for all those who’ve been asking, I’m finally in a position to give a meaningful update.
“At the time I gave the interview, the children and I had been allowed to visit Mal’s bedside for a few minutes.
“Covered from head to toe in PPE we said our goodbyes to him. We’d been told he would likely die the following day.
“When the dreaded call from the consultant came the next day, he told us there had been a tiny improvement which meant a drug supporting Mal’s blood pressure could be reduced; not enough to raise too much hope but a glimmer nonetheless.
“For the next few weeks it was touch and go. Medics worked at simply keeping Mal alive, giving his body a change of fighting the virus.”
Mal became unwell with symptoms of coronavirus on 19 March and after 10 days he was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
The family were in a “sickening limbo” for six weeks while he remained critical in hospital.
Mal then tested negative for coronavirus but his body was left extremely weak with kidney failiure.
Sue said: “When Mal eventually woke up he was so weak he could only respond by blinking.
“The very first time we FaceTimed him was horrific. He was lying there, lifeless. His eyes were open but he wasn’t really seeing.”
Mal, a chairman for a recruitment firm, was eventually fitted with a speech valve on his tracheotomy and asked his wife: “Hiya, how are you?”
Sue said: “They’d warned us that it might not sound like him but it did. It sounded exactly like him! He made a joke, something about the bed baths being good.
“It was starting to sound like him, starting to look like him, it is him, he’s in there, he’s come back to us. That was the first bit of light in a very dark time.”
Mal spent 61 days on a ventilator and spent 80 days in ICU after catching pneumonia for a third time.
He would be scared to fall asleep and would ask his wife: “Am I really going to make it?”
But his strength is now building and he is walking up flights of stairs unaided.
His family say he will have surgery to amputate part of both his thumbs, his index finger and the tip of his middle finger due to lack of blood circulation.
Mal’s goal is to now watch his teenage son William play rugby from the pitchside.
Sue said: “Given the fact they probably won’t be back playing until next year, knowing Mal he’ll probably be back helping them train by then.”
The family has now thanked thousands of supporters who messaged them during their ordeal.
Sue said: “So what I’d really like to say is thank you to the thousands of people, complete strangers not only from the UK, but Australia, Spain, Sweden, South Africa, New Zealand, around the world, who wrote to me, messaged me, left comments on social media, and others who held us in their thoughts for a moment.
“I can’t describe what a comfort and help that was.
“All the medical staff say Mal was so close to death that his recovery can only be described as miraculous.
“We’re not a religious family but it seemed that the world was praying for us. And maybe that played a part in the story of ‘Miracle Mal’ as he from now on will forever be known.”