Britain’s longest-suffering Covid patient has more reason than most to celebrate Christmas after his family begged doctors not to switch off his life support.
Ali Sakallioglu, 57, was in hospital for 222 days and his kids were told to say their last goodbyes three times.
But they refused to let him die – urging doctors to turn him on his stomach in a last-ditch attempt to save his life.
Grandfather Ali, who came out of hospital last month, said: “I was given zero chance of survival, so it feels like a miracle to be able to celebrate Christmas.
“On three different occasions they phoned my daughter and told her to get everyone down because I wasn’t going to make it.
“I can’t wait for Christmas – I have to be careful as I want to be here next Christmas.”
His children – Ali, 38, Seniz, 36, Ayse, 34, Jay, 32, and Yasemin, 31 – were made to say goodbye in full PPE. But Jay said: “Hope was all we had and we knew he wasn’t giving up. It’s incredible to have him here for Christmas. It’s the best present we could have asked for.”
Ali plans to tuck in to turkey with all the trimmings on Christmas Day, alongside Jay, who lives with him in Catford, South London, and Ali’s girlfriend Sheena O’Shay, 52.
He’s also desperate to get the vaccine so he can return to work as a cabbie without fear of being struck down a second time. He said: “I’d encourage everyone to get it.”