UK’s longest-known COVID patient dies after choosing to withdraw from treatment

The UK’s longest-known coronavirus patient has died after choosing to withdraw from treatment, his wife has confirmed.

Jason Kelk, 49, had spent more than 13 months in intensive care at St James’ Hospital in Leeds after contracting coronavirus in March last year.

He was transferred to a hospice this morning and died surrounded by his family.

His wife Sue Kelk wrote on Facebook on Friday: “Following on from my update yesterday 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.”

Jason Kelk has been using a ventilator since April last year after contracting COVID-19. Pic: Sue Kelk
Jason Kelk had been using a ventilator since April last year after contracting COVID-19. Pic: Sue Kelk

Mrs Kelk had posted on Thursday that her “darling husband” was facing “yet another setback” in his fight against coronavirus after contracting an infection.

The 63-year-old told the Yorkshire Evening Post after her husband’s death on Friday: “It was definitely important for him to do it on his terms.

“But he is leaving an awful lot of people absolutely bereft.

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“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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COVID patient walks for first time in 10 months

Mr Kelk’s death comes just over a month after his wife told Sky News she feared he had “given up” after his condition worsened and he started suffering “fainting attacks”.

She had earlier been making plans for his return home by launching a crowd-funding appeal to help convert their property.

Mrs Kelk said she was worried her husband no longer “believes in himself” in his fight for recovery.

She told Sky News: “He’s having quite a few problems. A couple of times he’s had like a faint and lost consciousness but they don’t know why.”

Mr Kelk had spent several weeks off a ventilator in recent months, but he needed to use one again after his condition worsened and he still required kidney dialysis.

Jason Kelk pictured on his wedding day with wife Sue. Pic: Sue Kelk
Jason Kelk pictured on his wedding day with wife Sue. Pic: Sue Kelk

Doctors believed the primary school IT worker would always need a tracheostomy tube to remove fluid that would build up in his throat and windpipe.

Before his condition worsened, Mrs Kelk said her husband had started drinking cups of tea and eating soup and was using Facebook Messenger “virtually every single day”.

But she said when she last spoke to her husband he was “talking absolute gobbledygook”.

Mr Kelk was admitted to hospital on 31 March last year, around the same time as Derek Draper, the husband of TV presenter Kate Garraway.

Mr Draper was also left seriously ill after contracting COVID but has since returned home after a year in hospital.

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