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Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 on March 27. Ten days later, he was admitted to hospital as he entered the critical phase of the infection.
For three days, he remained in intensive care, where he claims it was “50-50” as to whether he'd have to be intubated -- typically a last resort by doctors.
“It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it. They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario,” Johnson said in a conversation with The Sun on Sunday.
“It was hard to believe that in just a few days my health had deteriorated to this extent. I remember feeling frustrated. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting better.”
He added: “But the bad moment came when it was 50-50 whether they were going to have to put a tube down my windpipe.”
Johnson described how doctors supplied him with “litres and litres of oxygen” to avoid a worst-case scenario. He understood the stark reality of his situation when the “bloody indicators kept going the wrong way."
"I was not in particularly brilliant shape, and I was aware there were contingency plans in place. The doctors had all sorts of arrangements for what to do if things went badly wrong,” Johnson said.
Johnson continues to credit the “wonderful, wonderful nursing” that he received while at London’s St. Thomas’ Hospital. He recorded a thank-you message to the staff that cared for him during his visit, released shortly after he was discharged from the hospital.
When his son was born about two weeks after Johnson returned home, he and fiancee Carrie Symonds named the boy Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson -- Nicholas in recognition of doctors Nicholas Price and Nicholas Hart, members of the intensive-care unit that saved his life.
“Our warm congratulations go to the Prime Minister and Carrie Symonds on the happy arrival of their beautiful son Wilfred," Price and Hart said in a statement to the Sunday Telegraph.
“We are honoured and humbled to have been recognised in this way, and we give our thanks to the incredible team of professionals who we work with ... who ensure every patient receives the best care. We wish the new family every health and happiness.”