After eight months in hospital, Covid patient returns to rousing ‘homecoming’

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After eight months in hospital, Covid patient returns to rousing ‘homecoming’

Friends and family of Desmond Solomon, 62, stood in the rain outside of his house, socially distanced, to welcome him back after his coronavirus ordeal

Tali is a reporter at Jewish News

Desmond Solomon's homecoming
Desmond Solomon's homecoming

After around 8 months in hospital with coronavirus 62-year-old Desmond Solomon returned home to find a huge show of support from his community.

Israeli music playing in the background, the Essex community, alongside his family and friends were standing in the rain outside of his house, socially distanced, to welcome Desmond back in his ‘homecoming’.

In a video on Mr Solomon’s return, Rabbi Odom Brandman, from Buckhurst Hill’s Chabad Lubavitch centre, said the community had “come out in strength” to support Desmond and his family. As Mr Solomon was lifted out of the ambulance, people shouted “We love you Desmond” as others applauded his return from hospital.

Rabbi Brandman told the Jewish News it was “one of the most moving scenes I have seen in a long time” and that “there wasn’t a dry eye there it was so heart-warming”.

Mr Solomon was admitted to hospital with a suspected stroke when it emerged that he had contracted coronavirus. He was then moved to a High Dependency Unit, but his condition deteriorated and he was moved to ICU where he spent eleven days on a ventilator.

It wasn’t until two months after he was first admitted that he was then able to move back onto a normal ward when his condition improved.

Desmond’s wife, Andrea, and his children Emma and Daniel weren’t able to see him while he was in hospital, instead heaving to Facetime or speak on the phone.

Having been one of the closest community members since Buckhurst Hill’s Chabad centre opened, when Mr Solomon was able to stand up in hospital, he would occasionally join the centre’s pre-Shabbat Friday nights on Zoom, where Rabbi Brandman said there was “mass excitement” as everyone waved and Desmond waved back.

Rabbi Brandman (left) and Desmond Solomon (right) in a picture at Chanukah

Mrs Solomon told Rabbi Brandman that the family had been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from the community and that while there is still a long way to go in Desmond’s recovery, they are grateful to have him home.

Andrea Solomon was so grateful for the care her husband received from the NHS that she organised personalised cupcakes for NHS staff to say thank you, while working with her local Indian restaurant to get 20 free meals delivered to those on the ward.

Mrs Solomon told the hospital: “I’ll never forget the feeling though of joy and relief when we finally got the news we wanted – that he was going to be discharged. The day he was clapped out by the staff was amazing”.

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