Priest's miraculous recovery after "dying" twice and spending five weeks in critical care with Covid-19

Father Michael Stack "died" twice while battling coronavirus at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn

Father Michael Stack "died" twice while battling coronavirus at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn - Credit: Con McHugh

A Catholic priest who "died" twice and spent five weeks in critical care battling coronavirus has saluted the medical efforts and religious guidance which helped him pull through. 

Father Michael Stack spent three weeks on a ventilator at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), King's Lynn, before stunning staff by making a miraculous recovery. 

The 69-year-old had planned to stay with his sister in Dereham while on a short break from his role at Christ the King, Coventry, but was admitted to hospital after developing a bad cough and experiencing hallucinations.

Prayers were said around the world as he lay unconscious and had a tracheostomy to help him breath.

While full of immense praise for the doctors and nurses, Fr Michael drew strength from visits by Catholic priest, Fr Gordon Adam, and Baptist hospital chaplain, the Rev Lee Gilbert.

Latest NHS figures show there were 40 people with Covid-19 occupying beds at Queen Elizabeth Hospita

A Catholic priest "died" twice while battling coronavirus at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"I was on a ventilator for 21 days and spent 36 days in critical care," said Fr Michael. "I don’t remember much because I was completely medicated – a blessing in disguise.

"When the priest gave me the sacrament of anointing, it was quite strange because I had been independent for so long – but we all need other people.

Most Read

"The knowledge of having the sacrament helped me - I felt better. It strengthens my faith to know we are part of the healing process of Jesus Christ."

Fr Michael knows the vital role faith can play for patients, having spent 25 years in critical care wards as a chaplain at four Midlands hospitals. 

Mr Gilbert, who said prayers for Fr Michael via Facetime on Easter Sunday, added: "Whilst I had no idea whether he could hear me, I knew God could.

"Afterwards I spoke to Fr Michael’s sister and told her what I had done, and I believe it gave her a great deal of comfort. 

"Slowly Fr Michael’s health improved and he was transferred to a ward where we could have a face-to-face conversation and reflect on his journey."

As he negotiates the road to recovery, Fr Michael - who had to learn to walk again following his 10-week hospital stay - has returned to QEH to thank staff and meet fellow survivors. 

He is working on a new edition of his book, 'Lord When Did We See You Sick', to incorporate a chapter on his experience.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter