Wed, 12 June 2024

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Parliament Unwrapped: What did the 2019-2024 Parliament mean for workers’ health, safety, and wellbeing? Partner content
Five-point manifesto to support people and families living with obesity Partner content
This is manifestly the moment for dementia to be made a priority Partner content
Soaring dementia care costs reach £42 billion in UK – and families bear the brunt Partner content
An international call to G7 leaders for financial commitments to fight neglected tropical diseases Partner content
By Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
Press releases

Coronavirus: Nurse tells of his pride after Boris Johnson thanked him for saving his life

Boris Johnson paid tribute to the nurses in a video from Chequers.

3 min read

A Portugese nurse who cared for Boris Johnson in intensive care has spoken of his pride after the Prime Minister thanked him for saving his life.

Luis Pitarma said it was "overwhelming" to be responsible for the PM's wellbeing after he was admitted to intensive care at St. Thomas's Hospital in London earlier this month.

Mr Johnson said things "could have gone either way" during the three nights he spent in ICU.

Speaking after being discharged from hospital, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Mr Pitarma and New Zealand nurse Jenny McGee, who also watched over him in ICU.

Mr Johnson said: "The reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed."

In his first public comments since then, Mr Pitarma said he "felt nervous" when he was told he was beig put in chare of the PM's care.

"The responsibility I was going to hold in my hands was quite overwhelming," he said. "I didn’t really know how to address him – should I call him Boris, Mr Johnson or Prime Minister? My matron reassured me and said to be myself like I am with any other patient.”

"I asked how he would like to be addressed and he said to call him Boris. That made me feel less nervous because he took away any formality. He just wanted to be looked after like anyone else."

The 29-year-old, who lives in west London, said the PM was "a patient like any other patient" and revealed the pair had spoken about Portugal and how it had always been his dream to work at St. Thomas's.

He added: "He thanked me for saving his life. I felt extremely proud for someone like him to recognise the quality of the job I’d done. I was very happy with his words, they were very kind.

"I hope I can meet him again one day when he is fully recovered."

Meanwhile, Ms McGee has hit back at suggestions that Mr Johnson had received preferential treatment and had not really needed to be in intensive care.

She told Sky News: "We take it very seriously who comes into intensive care, these patients who come into us it's a very scary thing for them so we don't take it lightly and he absolutely needed to be there."

The nurse, who is from Invercargill in New Zealand's south island, added: "To be completely honest with you I've worked in intensive care for 10 years, I'm a sister I've been in charge for five years and I've been in stressful situations and I was not fazed by this, it was just another day at the office.

"When I got in the car after work each night and I could hear things about Boris Johnson on the news that was very surreal because I thought wow! I've been looking after him! but I really wasn't fazed by looking after Boris Johnson."

PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe


Coronavirus Health
Partner content
Connecting Communities

Connecting Communities is an initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening community ties across the UK. Launched in partnership with The National Lottery, it aims to promote dialogue and support Parliamentarians working to nurture a more connected society.

Find out more