Publish date: 17 April 2020

Ria Lakhani, who has the rare condition achalasia which means she has trouble swallowing, was transferred to UCLH after she tested positive for COVID-19 following an operation at another trust.

Ria Lakhan

“Things went from bad to worse - taking a breath became as hard as climbing a mountain," she wrote on Facebook after being admitted to UCLH. "I could see the more and more concerned looks on the faces of the many heroes treating me. More and more doctors looking in, murmuring to each other - observations taken every minute and scrutinised incessantly. Scary, uncertainty, unnerving, so many feelings, so many thoughts in my head, questions I was scared to hear the answers to."

She has featured on the BBC’s website here and last night was on ITV to praise the “true heroes” who looked after her and to whom she is “eternally grateful”. Also featured in the ITV feature were Lisa Sadler, senior nurse, Lamin Sonko, nurse, and Celine Hollinshead, sister, who were some of the amazing staff who helped looked after Ria.

Ria is now recovering at home in Harrow.

She told the BBC after being discharged: "There was a point in this journey that I didn't know if I would see the light of day again. Nothing was certain, and even though I've always known how much I love my family - in those moments I learned how much I need them.

“I can't explain the moment I left the hospital, I'll never take anything for granted again."