Samut Sakhon governor Veerasak Vichitsangsri, who spent 82 days in Siriraj Hospital being treated for a severe COVID-19 infection, including 42 days of unconsciousness on a respirator, said today (Friday) that he never thought he would be able to talk again.

Discharged from hospital today, the governor offered his thanks to all the medical staff involved in his treatment and for their moral support. The governor told the media, in his first press conference since leaving hospital, that he might have looked weak as he entered the room, but he was much worse several days ago.

Being in hospital for 82 days, Governor Veerasak said that he issurprised to be able to talk with everyone again.

Because of his duty, which exposed him to COVID-19, he said that he was sure he was infected when tested, but thought that he would recover in about 10 days “but symptoms were more severe than I thought,” as he warned everyone not to be complacent about the virus.

The governor quoted Dr. Prasit Watanapa, dean of the Faculty of Medicines at Siriraj hospital, as saying that his case was a real test for the medical staff in determining whether they could cope with COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Dr. Prasit told the media that Governor Veerasak has set the record for being on a respirator for the longest period adding, however, that the governor’s high spirits were importantfor his recovery from this severe illness.

He also said that he knew that the governor was determined to overcome his illness and return home the day he heard his wife’s voice.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nitipat Jiarakul, chief of the Respiratory Disease and Tuberculosis division, said that the governor, suffering from complications, had spent 34 days in the ICU, after which doctors provided rehabilitation to help him breathe again without the respirator.

He admitted that, initially, doctors were worried that his brain might have been affected, but he quickly recovered and regained the ability to speak.

The hospital director, Dr. Visit Vamvanit, said that Siriraj Hospital is well-prepared and ready to cope with the second wave of the pandemic and has admitted several severe and moderate COVID-19 cases for treatment, adding that there have been more severe cases during the second wave of infections and all the negative pressure rooms in the hospital became fully occupied, so more such rooms have been added.

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