KATE Garraway has revealed the terrifying moment Good Morning Britain's Dr Hilary Jones ordered her to call an ambulance for Covid-stricken husband Derek.
In an extract from her book The Power of Hope, which is serialised in The Mail, Kate recalls how she and Derek thought he had sinusitis after he woke one morning in March last year with an excruciating headache and sinus pain.
A GP prescribed him antibiotics after ruling out coronavirus due to an absence of a cough or temperature.
After a steady weekend, Derek's condition deteriorated drastically on the Monday with Kate describing him as "pale" and "exhausted".
Unsure of what to do, she called Dr Hilary, who proceeded to carry out some tests with Derek over the phone.
Kate writes: "But I will never forget what I heard next.
"‘You need to call an ambulance. Now,’ said Dr Hilary.
"‘Yes.’ He was completely serious, which I was not prepared for. ‘It’s worrying. His breathing really is not right.’ Even as I was dialling 999, I felt guilty that I might be wasting their time. But Dr Hilary had left no room for doubt, and now an ambulance was on its way."
Paramedics discovered Derek's oxygen levels were very low and he was immediately taken to hospital.
He tested positive for coronavirus and struggled to breathe while hooked up to a machine.
Fearing the worst, Derek began talking about his own funeral and how he wasn't sure if he wanted children Billy and Darcey to attend.
Doctors made the decision to put him in an induced coma, with Kate warned that her husband might never wake up.
He was transferred to another hospital to undergo extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) which sees oxygen fed directly into the blood by a machine.
During this time Kate was inundated with support from public figures like David Beckham and Tony Blair.
The broadcaster, 53, recently welcomed Derek home after he battled Covid complications in hospital for over a year – but he still has a long way to go.
Speaking to Adil Ray and Susanna Reid on Thursday's GMB, Kate revealed Derek has made a lot of progress since being reunited with his family.
She said: "It's a worthy gig. No it's been wonderful having Derek at home and lots of little positives, I think.
"And whether those are positives because it is genuinely helping his cognition being at home or whether it's because I'm there to see the little things.
"Whereas I couldn't go in before and we were on Facetime and stuff. It feels positive, little moments of reaction."
The mum-of-two then said Derek even gave her a compliment – despite being unresponsive for most of the past year.
She continued: "He actually said something the other day. I walked in the other morning before I went to go to Smooth, I said, 'I’m off to Smooth [radio] now', and he said, 'new dress'. Which was just amazing.
"I thought that was amazing on so many levels, because he recognised it. Second, he realised to remember I need a lot of flattery.
"So there was an emotional connection there. And some basis of what our relationship was always based on. It was just a little moment.
"But then there was nothing. We're back to the bits in between, so lots of little moments. And also, a very busy home now with lots of experts coming in and out."
Kate apologised for speaking about Derek at the beginning of the show, but Susanna jumped to her defence.
Susanna said: "Never apologise for talking about it. Your documentary reached millions of people – seven million people watched Finding Derek. And people are so concerned, so supportive, so loving."
Kate replied: "And I think it reflects a whole group of people going through this.
"Not just people like Derek with Covid, but all sorts of things, long term illnesses that families are living with and the effect it has on family life. I thought I got it before, but I get it now."
Doctors said that Derek had been “universally affected” — meaning his lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas had all been hit by Covid.
At his worst, hospital staff feared he may remain in a semi-vegetative state forever.
The Sun revealed that Kate — who has bravely continued working throughout much of her husband’s illness — has spent thousands of pounds adapting their home for his return.
She also faces medical bills running into the tens of thousands as Derek fights to get back to full fitness.
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