Man leaves Westmead Hospital after fighting COVID-19 for 399 days

© Provided by ABC Health David Avila Mellado was admitted to Westmead Hospital on July 29, 2020. (Supplied: Western Sydney Health)

A Sydney man who spent 399 days in hospital recovering from COVID-19 has urged the community to get vaccinated, saying the virus is real.

Sixty-nine-year-old David Avila Mellado was admitted to Westmead Hospital last year on July 29 after getting infected. Earlier this month, he was finally able to go home.

“I start with the COVID, I was in a coma for a few weeks, I came back here, didn’t know my name didn’t know nothing,” he said.

“But now I can say my name. I can say thank you.”

Mr Mellado spent seven weeks in intensive care before being transferred to the respiratory observation unit in September, 2021.

Vision posted by Western Sydney Health on their Facebook page shows him leaving the ward to the applause and well-wishes of medical staff.

It also shows the moment he met his grandson for the first time.

“I remember all my big family here, because it was so much time. I have in my heart everybody,” he said.

Health officials said after more than a year of being unable to breathe independently or talk, his tracheostomy tube was finally taken out on August 10.

Mr Mellado, who will require ongoing rehabilitation, had a message for those who were hesitant about getting vaccinated. 

“I tell everybody ‘get the vaccine’, there are many people they don’t want the vaccine, they don’t trust about the virus, but it’s real. It’s real so they have to understand, they have to get the vaccine,” he said

“They have to help other people too. My recommendation and the final idea is tell the people don’t wait, try get the vaccine as soon as possible.”

He also thanked the staff for helping him.

“I remember when I do exercise for the corridor. I know everyone they say to me ‘hello David’,” he said.

“I feel happy because I don’t remember many people but they know me. Thank you very much everybody working here and help me a lot.”

People have taken to social media to congratulate Mr Mellado on his recovery and the staff that looked after him.

“What a fighter”, one person wrote while others have called his journey “an amazing story”. 

NSW today recorded 1,331 locally acquired cases and six deaths, all from Sydney’s west and south-west.

There are 1,219 people in hospital with 233 of these in intensive care and 123 of whom require ventilation.

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