The heartfelt moment a Sydney Covid patient was released from hospital after 399 days has been captured, and he had one important message.
A Covid-19 patient who spent more than a year recovering in a Sydney hospital has urged people not to wait and get vaccinated now.
David Avila Mellado, 69, was finally released from Westmead Hospital earlier this month after a marathon 399 days of treatment.
“I have in my heart everybody I remember,” he said.
“When I do exercise in the corridor, I know everyone, everyone they say to me, ‘hello David’. I feel happy because I don’t remember many people, but they know me.”
He was first admitted in July last year and his condition deteriorated rapidly, landing him in ICU for seven weeks.
Once he was well enough he was transferred to the respiratory observation unit.
Mr Avila Mellado then worked with speech pathologists, physios and other medical professionals to help regain his strength.
His tracheostomy tube was removed in August after more than a year of not being able to breathe on his own or talk.
Staff formed a wall of honour and clapped him as he walked out of the hospital that had been his home for 399 days.
But his journey to recovery doesn’t end there.
Western Sydney Health said Mr Mellado will continue rehabilitation beyond Westmead Hospital.
Respiratory observation nurse unit manager Trudy Darling described Mr Avila Mellado as part of the family.
“We miss him and it’s sad to see him go, but he needs to get back to his family,” she said.
While leaving hospital Mr Avila Mellado issued an impassioned plea to Australians.
“Many people, they don’t want the vaccine. But it’s (Covid-19) real. So they have to understand, they have to get the vaccine, they have to help the other people too,” he said.
“My recommendation and the final idea is tell the people: don’t wait. Try to get the vaccine as soon as possible.”
There are 1231 Covid-19 cases being treated in NSW hospitals now, with 231 of those in intensive care – 108 of whom are on a ventilator.
Originally published as ‘Don’t wait’: Sydney Covid patient’s impassioned plea after 399 days in hospital