April 13, 2020 14:57:44
A 70-year-old coronavirus patient whose case sparked a major inquiry into the hotel quarantine system in Western Australia has been moved out of intensive care and is back to his “cheeky old self”, according to his wife of 54 years.
- Kenny Watson was in hotel quarantine when he became very sick
- His wife called an ambulance but it was turned away from the hotel
- He eventually ended up in an induced coma but has now woken up
Kathleen Watson said her husband Kenny yesterday rang her out of the blue from Royal Perth hospital, where he has been in an induced coma and on a ventilator since April 2.
“It felt surreal, I couldn’t believe I was talking to him,” Mrs Watson said.
“What a lovely Easter it was to hear his voice on the phone.
“He was full of his old self, his cheeky old self.
“The nurses are saying he’s won the hearts of everyone.
“It really is a miracle.”
It was the first time Mrs Watson had spoken to her husband since he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit 11 days ago.
“The last time I spoke to Kenny, he held my hand and said ‘Darling, the doctors are going to put me to sleep, and I might not wake up,'” she recalled.
Case sparks review of hotel quarantine protocols
The couple, from Toukley on the NSW central coast, sparked a major inquiry into Western Australia’s handling of cruise ship passengers last week, when it was revealed that Mrs Watson’s pleas for help for her husband were left unanswered for several hours after his condition deteriorated in hotel quarantine.
The treating doctor also spoke out about what she said was a lack of staffing and PPE at the hotels being used to quarantine new arrivals.
The WA Health Minister conceded the couple’s treatment had been “less than optimal” and authorities launched a review of all nursing and medical support for hundreds of cruise ship passengers across several hotels.
Mrs Watson is still in quarantine at the Crown Promenade hotel in Perth, waiting for her husband to recover.
“We’ve got to now wait for all the tests before he can leave the hospital, they have to be clear and then of course he goes into isolation,” she said.
The Watsons, who first met at school when they were 13, had been on the “trip of a lifetime” on the Costa Luminosa cruise ship which they boarded in Miami on February 24.
They had to fly back to Perth from Italy mid-voyage due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Mrs Watson said all her husband wanted to do now was go “back to normality” with their close-knit family in NSW.
“I love cruising, I’m one of those ten pound Pommies that sailed when I was seven, so it’s in my blood,” she laughed.
“But Kenny I remember he looked up and he said ‘I’m not doing no more cruises’.”
Concern about easing restrictions
Mrs Watson said she was concerned about the current debate over the easing of restrictions.
“I’m no professional but I don’t want anybody to go through this,” she said.
“It’s an unknown virus and we don’t really know what it does.
“It’s like a nightmare really.”
The 70-year-old said that she had also been diagnosed with COVID-19, but, apart from some lethargy, had not suffered any symptoms.
She said her strong faith and the support of others had helped her through the ordeal.
“We’d just like to thank everyone who has prayed and supported us,” she said.
Contact Claire Moodie
stories from Western Australia