Ex-Olympian's chilling Covid-19 experience: "Curtain was drawn, body bags came in"

2 May 2020, 12:40 | Updated: 2 May 2020, 15:12

By Seán Hickey

This former British olympian was struck down by coronavirus and explained the chilling experience of being on a Covid-19 ward.

Ken Dwan is a former British rower that competed in the Olympic Games in 1968 and 1972. He was struck down by coronavirus during this pandemic and has thankfully survived the ordeal. He joined Matt Frei to share his experience in hospital fighting the disease.

Mr. Dwan spoke of his experience of being fed oxygen and how he managed it. "Because I'd been in the Mexico Olympics in '68 my mindset went back to my training for that olympics which was done at altitude" he said. He told Matt that he used this experience to compare and withstand the ordeal of being put on oxygen as a treatment for coronavirus.

The former olympian told Matt his horror at how doomed some people in his ward felt. "There was people ripping the oxygen masks off their face" Mr Dwan told Matt. He said that "doctors and nurses were pleading with patients" to leave the masks on or risk their death, but these people were refusing so they could speak on the phone to their families.

"10 minutes later the curtain would go round and the people with a body bag would come in" Mr Dwan told Matt. He said this was something that motivated him to push on and take the oxygen until he was cured.

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Mr Dwan told Matt how he went to a happy place to endure the horrors of his fellow patients dying around him. "I was in Greenwich Park running up the hills which was the training I used to do" and for him this was a way to stay calm and focused on curing himself.

The former rower told Matt of the moment doctors came to tell him they thought he should sign a non-resuscitation form.

He revealed the doctors told him that the machines were keeping his lungs going but he was not responding to the treatment.

"Did you know things had gotten this bad" Matt asked, to which Mr Dwan assured he had no idea that he was doing so badly. Matt wanted to know if the ex-olympian had thought about refusing to sign the form, but he insisted that he was confident in the hands of the doctors.

"If it's meant to be that I'm not going to be here anymore then they should look after those that need treatment."