Kate Garraway wanted to donate her blood plasma to husband Derek Draper

Kate Garraway has revealed she offered to donate her blood plasma to husband Derek Draper after they were both struck down with coronavirus

The Good Morning Britain recovered from COVID-19 but her husband has been in intensive care since March.

Speaking on Monday’s GMB, Kate explained she was keen to donate her blood plasma to Derek after her recovery  – a procedure encouraged by the NHS and the government. 

Help: Kate Garraway has revealed she offered to donate her blood plasma to husband Derek Draper after they were both struck down with coronavirus

While Derek is now free of coronavirus and came out of a coma last month, Kate told her GMB co-star Ben Shephard that she was wanted to help in any way she could when Derek’s condition was at its most critical.   

‘Something I saw which intrigued me was this call out from the government for people to come forward to donate blood, so they can make use of blood plasma. Those who have had Covid and recovered,’ she said.

‘When Derek was very seriously affected by the virus – as in the virus was active, not as he is now – towards the end of April, I was looking for anything that might be able to help.’

Kate said she spoke to her husband’s doctors, explaining: ‘I said to the doctors, “Could I donate my blood? I’ve had it, I seem to have recovered. Would antibodies that I have be helpful to him?”‘

Support: The Good Morning Britain recovered from COVID-19 but her husband has been in intensive care since March (pcitured together in December 2019)

Support: The Good Morning Britain recovered from COVID-19 but her husband has been in intensive care since March (pcitured together in December 2019)

A timeline of Derek’s coronavirus battle  

MARCH  

Kate revealed she and Prince Charles had got ‘relatively close’ at the Prince’s Trust Awards on March 11 – Charles was diagnosed with coronavirus in mid-March.  

She said: ‘Around the 29/30 March, I came home came in and said [to Derek] ‘god you look ill.’

 ‘He said he had a headache, numbness in his right hand, and was struggling to breathe,

‘I rang Dr Hilary (Jones) and tried to get through, he talked to Derek. He said put me back on, I think you need to call an ambulance’

Derek, 52, was taken into hospital on March 30 and remained in an unresponsive condition. 

APRIL  

Kate and her children isolated at home after she displayed ‘mild symptoms’.

Kate said: ‘Derek remains in intensive care and is still very ill. I’m afraid it remains an excruciatingly worrying time.

‘I’m afraid he is still in a deeply critical condition, but he is still here, which means there is hope.’ 

MAY 

Kate said: ‘The journey for me and my family seems to be far from over as every day my heart sinks as I learn new and devastating ways this virus has more battles for Derek to fight. 

‘But he is still HERE & so there is still hope.’

That month, Kate and her family took part in the final clap for carers

She said: ‘I’ll never give up on that because Derek’s the love of my life but at the same time I have absolute uncertainty’

JUNE 

On June 5, Kate revealed Derek is now free from coronavirus but continues to fight against the damage inflicted on his body

JULY 

On July 5, Kate revealed Derek has woken from his coma but he remains in a serious yet critical condition.

On July 8, she announced she would be returning to GMB, after being urged by doctors to ‘get on with life’ during Derek’s recovery.   

She added that Derek had ‘opened his eyes’ after waking from his coma, but has been told his recovery could take years.  

On July 13, Kate returned to GMB for the first time since Derek was hospitalised.    

On July 28, Kate revealed she’d paid an ‘extra emotional’ first visit to Derek, and admitted she’s ‘frustrated’ by his slow progress.

‘They said, “We are months away from being able to be confident that we could, in a sense, clean your blood enough to make sure that only the good antibodies were going in.”‘

Kate added that Derek has since had plasma exchanged, explaining: ‘We know plasma has been really helpful now. And more recently, Derek has had plasma exchanged, to try to support the cleaning up of the system.’ 

Kate asked GMB’s doctor Dr Amir Khan if the UK is in a position where people could donate blood to family members who have coronavirus, admitting ‘for anybody who has a relative who is sick, it just feels like something you could do to help’. 

He said: ‘Definitely. We all want to help people who are suffering from this virus. And convalescent plasma therapy, we are really encouraging people to come forward and donate plasma. Because we need more and more of it. Particularly if there is a risk of a second wave.’

‘I really like this idea. It’s one of these old-fashioned kinds of medical therapies that has come back. It was first used in the 1800s to treat children with diphtheria, and then again in the 1900s to treat Spanish flu.’

‘The NHS and the government are really encouraging people who have tested positive for coronavirus, who have thought they’d had it in the past and perhaps have not had a test yet, to come forward and donate their plasma.’

‘Their antibodies can be used in patients who are particularly unwell in hospital to help treat their infection.’ 

Kate then asked: ‘That’s great now, but why wasn’t it used before?’ He admitted the evidence has ‘always been there’ but the technology and the donations ‘haven’t always been there’, and he believes it ‘should’ve been used earlier’. 

On Monday’s show, Kate also revealed how her friend and fellow TV presenter Jeremy Kyle has helped her with childcare for her children Darcey, 14, and Billy, 11.

Kate explained her children have gone to stay with Derek’s parents this week, but admitted she has taken precautions as her in-laws have been shielding since March.  

‘My children have gone for the first time to stay away from home – they’ve gone to stay with Derek’s mum and dad,’ she said. ‘Derek’s mum and dad have been shielding since the beginning of March because they both feel vulnerable.’

‘So this was a very big deal for them to have the children to stay, and also very important because they haven’t seen their grandchildren in a while. Very important for Billie and Darcey because they haven’t seen their grandparents as well.’

She added that her children isolated over several days before they went to visit and she washed and sealed Darcey and Billy’s clothes before they travelled on Sunday.   

Kate explained that she didn’t want to travel with the children to their grandparents as she wanted to limit the people her in-laws have had contact with, so her friend Jeremy stepped in.  

‘It was thanks to Jeremy Kyle that they travelled up – big thanks to him. Because he said, “Listen, my driver has been isolating and has been keeping the car very clean so I’ll take the children up.” Very, very kind of him, thank you very much Jeremy.’

Family: On Monday's show, Kate also revealed how her friend and fellow TV presenter Jeremy Kyle has helped her with childcare for her children Darcey, 14, and Billy, 11

Family: On Monday’s show, Kate also revealed how her friend and fellow TV presenter Jeremy Kyle has helped her with childcare for her children Darcey, 14, and Billy, 11

Last week Kate revealed she paid an ‘extra emotional’ first visit to Derek, as he continues to slowly recover from COVID-19.

The Good Morning Britain presenter, 53, also told Ben Shephard that it was ‘lovely’ to see her partner as (28 July) was his 53rd birthday, but she continues to be ‘frustrated’ by his slow progress.

Kate told Ben: ‘I did go and see Derek, he’s had a tough couple of weeks, and it’s just frustrating, it would have actually been his birthday today so I was extra emotional so I was thinking about the day he was born. 

She added: ‘What the doctor said to me was, “Sometimes, Kate, a day when nothing has gone backwards is a positive”.’

As Ben agreed that Derek had ‘a stable day,’ Kate added: ‘It’s just I’m desperate for a step forward. It’s always lovely to see him and so it’s wonderful to have the chance to see him.’

The presenter has been unable to visit her husband Derek due to strict measures in place in hospitals around the country during the coronavirus crisis, and has instead been ‘seeing him’ over FaceTime. 

Last Monday, Kate also spoke about the ‘utterly terrifying’ moment her tyre blew while she was driving with her family over the weekend.

The Good Morning Britain presenter was left shaken following the incident, which occurred as she hurried back to see ailing husband Derek.

Speaking to co-host Ben, Kate said: ‘We were rushing back because we were conscious of getting back to London to check on Derek, and my mum and dad were coming for their first visit.

‘You know people say God and the universe doesn’t send you what you can’t deal with. I would like to put a message out, I am at my limit, I am at my absolute limit now. If the universe could just give me a calm Monday!’ 

Terrifying: Last Monday, Kate also spoke about the 'utterly terrifying' moment her tyre blew while she was driving with her family over the weekend

Terrifying: Last Monday, Kate also spoke about the ‘utterly terrifying’ moment her tyre blew while she was driving with her family over the weekend

Referring to the accident, which happened while children Darcey, 14, and Billy, 11, were in the car, she added: ‘It was the first time that I had been out with the kids in the car…

‘Leaving London, going to meet some friends in Kent, in a socially distanced way at lovely Port Lympne Safari Park.  

‘On the way back we suddenly exploded. It’s that moment where you think ”I can’t control the car.” 

‘All weird steering, bits of rubber flying everywhere. I don’t know if it was smoke but looked like smoke – it could be burning rubber. 

Touching: Derek has credited Kate for saving him from depression which started during his career as a political advisor and led to a nervous breakdown (pictured in 2006)

Touching: Derek has credited Kate for saving him from depression which started during his career as a political advisor and led to a nervous breakdown (pictured in 2006)

‘I managed to pull over but it just happened to be on the section of the motorway where there wasn’t a hard shoulder, there was a feeder road going off so I was nervous about people going on the inside.’

Kate later admitted she had chosen to stay close to London for the sake of Derek, who remains in a critical condition at a local hospital.  

She said: ‘We’ve been talking about travel plans all morning and the problems people are facing going to Spain and having to quarantine, but I made baby steps. 

‘This was the first time I was taking the kids out of London. Obviously wanting to stay local to Derek and taking it step by step.’

REVEALED: HOW THE CRUEL LEGACY OF COVID MAY LAST A LIFETIME 

Covid-19 could leave survivors with debilitating illnesses that last for years, doctors have warned since the outbreak spiralled out of control.

One leading medic called it ‘this generation’s polio’ – a disease that killed thousands and left a generation with life-long mobility issues. 

Patients who spend weeks fighting the disease can suffer from long-term complications caused by permanent damage to their lungs and liver, but serious problems can also blight people who only have a minor illness. 

SCARRING AND LONG-TERM LUNG DAMAGE 

Several recent studies have highlighted proof Covid-19 causes fibrosis – scarring of the lung tissue – that makes it harder for the organs to work.

A research paper published in a Chinese journal in March said ‘pulmonary fibrosis may be one of the major [long-term] complications in Covid-19 patients’.

A build-up of scar tissue in the lungs can reduce their capacity to absorb air, leaving a patient with breathing difficulties, shortness of breath or a cough. 

Insufficient oxygen also has knock-on effects on the other vital organs, which rely on the chemical to work. Without it, they cannot work as efficiently and may start to fail or work less efficiently. 

Failing kidneys may result in a patient needing long-term medication or dialysis, while a severely damaged liver could require a transplant to treat. 

IMMUNE SYSTEM OVER-REACTION CAN DAMAGE HEART, LIVER & KIDNEYS

Evidence is also emerging that the virus may affect the the liver, kidneys, heart and blood vessels because of the way it can force the immune system to attack healthy parts of the body.

As well as the potential of immediate death in the case of kidney failure, a heart attack or a stroke, any damage to these vital organs can cause lifelong disability and dramatically increase the risk of dying young.

A paper in the journal JAMA Cardiology in March reported a fifth of patients in a group of 416 who were hospitalised in Wuhan, China, had suffered heart damage.

Another study in Wuhan found that 16 out of 36 intensive care patients developed irregular heartbeats, called arrhythmia, which can weaken the heart’s ability to pump blood. 

Coronavirus can also cause blood clots, scientists say, which raise the risk of stroke or heart attack. 

The heart problems are thought to occur as a result of the virus triggering a ‘cytokine storm’, where the immune system overreacts to the infection.  

GROWING EVIDENCE OF BRAIN DAMAGE AND NEUROLOGICAL EFFECTS 

Long-term brain damage may also be a consequence of Covid-19 infection, according to emerging research of patients who caught it.

Doctors around the world say they are seeing growing numbers of people with neurological symptoms such as headaches, loss of smell and taste, tingling sensations, losing the ability to speak and even seizures and strokes, the BBC reported

Dr Elissa Fory, from the Henry Ford Foundation in Detroit, said: ‘We don’t know yet if the encephalopathy [brain damage] is more severe with Covid-19 than with other viruses, but I can tell you we’ve been seeing quite a lot of it.’

Symptoms affecting the brain are harder to measure and track – it took months for officials in the UK to admit a lost sense of smell was a symptom of coronavirus – but they can be permanent. 

HOSPITAL STAYS AND TREATMENT CAN BE DEBILITATING 

As well as damage caused by the virus itself, patients who are seriously ill with Covid-19 – particularly those in intensive care – will suffer long-term health problems just from being in hospital. 

Physiotherapists warn patients muscles start to waste away quickly when they are in hospital beds, which can leave them with mobility problems for a long time – especially if they are already elderly, which many coronavirus patients are.

People’s lungs can also be irreparably damaged by ventilators, the intensive care machines which help people to breathe when they cannot do it alone.

The machines work by blowing air into the lungs through a tube inserted directly down the throat and into the airways. The pressure of the air being forced into the lungs can tear and split the delicate tissue inside the lungs and leave them permanently damaged. This is a trade-off: the machines are usually a last resort for people who can’t breathe on their own and would die without the ventilator.

People who get seriously ill are also at a risk of developing depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of their ordeal after the initial infection has gone. 

EVEN MILD ILLNESS CAN DRAG ON FOR MONTHS 

There is growing evidence that even mild Covid-19 can have long-lasting consequences and the UK Government last weekend launched a study into the after-effects of the illness.

Experts on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warned that Covid-19 patients could be left with ‘extreme tiredness and shortness of breath for several months’ even if they were not hospitalised.

Concerns about the lasting effects of the illness were discussed in a SAGE meeting which took place on May 7. 

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, revealed some patients need psychological treatment for ‘post-intensive care syndrome’. 

And another scientific advisor to the Government told The Telegraph that ‘a very high proportion’ of Covid-19 survivors ‘cannot get back to a normal life’. 

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