The partner of a man diagnosed with coronavirus and admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital with his life in the balance has paid tribute to the intensive care staff who worked relentlessly to save his life.
Eugene Bell (52) is a non-smoker with no underlying health conditions - but within five days of testing positive for Covid-19, he was so unwell, his partner Paul McShane feared he would not survive.
Mr Bell was rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital's high dependency unit where he remained seriously ill until earlier this week when he was transferred to the Covid ward.
Mr McShane said the couple will forever be thankful for the care given to Mr Bell.
He said: "Eugene was hit pretty hard by the virus and he has a long road ahead before he gets back to full health, if he gets back to full health.
"Eugene is a fit man, he doesn't smoke, he eats well, drinks just one night a week, goes to the gym and has no underlying health conditions at all, so on paper, he shouldn't have been so sick.
"I watched Eugene deteriorate over five days until I just knew I needed to do something fast.
"The doctors told me if we had waited another five hours, Eugene would have died so it was scary.
"He kept saying to me, 'Leave it until tomorrow'. But I told him he needed to be checked and thank God I did because they rushed him straight in."
While Mr Bell was in intensive care, Mr McShane relied on staff to keep him up to date with how his partner was doing.
He said: "Since Eugene was moved from the high dependency unit to the Covid ward we have been able to have video calls. He sounds awful and looks dreadful but he is a hell of a lot better than the day he was admitted.
"The days when Eugene was pretty seriously ill, the doctors rang me every day and told me what they were doing to treat Eugene and how he was reacting, and in the evening a nurse would ring me to explain how he was coping with everything they were doing.
"The doctors and the nurses were really, really good to him but they were so good to me too. I know the pressure they are working under and I am sure they had plenty of other things to do but they took time out to keep me in the picture - especially when Eugene was so ill - so we can't say enough good about them."
While hospitals continue to struggle to care for Covid patients, Mr McShane raged at people who promote an anti-mask, anti-vaccine message, saying: "I am fed up reading and hearing people saying coronavirus is a myth and there's no need to wear masks.
"It makes me so angry every time I see this nonsense. The lies they are spreading are dangerous because they are confusing people about what is the right thing to do and now they are going on about the vaccine and leaving people frightened about taking it.
"God forbid that any of these people or someone belonging to them ends up in intensive care, it would be interesting to see what they say then. They need to get their eyes opened but I wouldn't wish this on anyone because contrary to what they are saying, coronavirus is very real."