Coronavirus: Belfast lawyer put on ventilator 'within hour' of hospital arrival

  • Published
Niall MurphyImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
The married father-of-three has worked on a number of high-profile Troubles legacy cases

A prominent Belfast solicitor who is recovering from Covid-19 says he was put on a ventilator within an hour of arriving at hospital.

Niall Murphy, a partner at KRW Law, spent 16 days in an induced coma at Antrim Area Hospital.

Mr Murphy's wife was told there was only a 50% chance he would survive.

The married father-of-three called for a "re-evaluation of society" and said he hoped people would appreciate the health service more now.

No chance to speak to wife

Mr Murphy, 43, became unwell after he returned from speaking at a St Patrick's Day event in New York on 10 March.

He isolated at home for 12 days but by 25 March, he had developed a cough and had difficulties breathing.

The lawyer was taken to hospital and he did not have a chance to speak to his wife before he was placed in a medically-induced coma.

"I texted her to tell her what was happening, there was no opportunity to phone," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme.

"I didn't feel anything other than this is the right thing to do; it was just a process and these guys [healthcare staff] know what they are doing."

'Almost a privilege'

Reflecting on his recovery, Mr Murphy praised the healthcare staff that looked after him.

He said the only time he has been in hospital was with a sports injury or at the birth of his children.

He describes feeling "elated beyond description" when he was wheeled out of intensive care and thanked the staff that "took time out of their day to make me feel better emotionally".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Mr Murphy said he hoped society re-evaluates what was important, adding he had "no appreciation" of what a nurse did before contracting Covid-19.

"What I'm most concerned about, having gone through what I have, is how we treat the NHS," he said.

"It was almost a privilege to be looked after by the people who looked after me."

The lawyer said he was humbled by the support he had received.

"What is important is your health and wellbeing," he added.