Senior firefighter urges communities to remain vigilant after Covid-19 left him barely able to walk

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By Steven O'Neill

Ian McMeekin picture

Photo Credit: Jim Scott

A senior firefighter has encouraged communities to remain vigilant and follow safety guidance after the Covid-19 virus left him barely able to walk.

Local Senior Officer for Ayrshire, Ian McMeekin, contracted the virus at the start of lockdown and has donated plasma antibodies to help treat others following his recovery.

Heralding the “fantastic” work of the NHS, LSO McMeekin wants to remind people to follow government guidance and social distance as much as possible.

He said: “This is something I would never want to go through again – it could have been a lot worse were it not for the outstanding work of my local GP.

“I still have no idea how I contracted the virus which is why I’d urge people to avoid becoming complacent as lockdown eases. It can be easy to forget basic things such as standing too close to someone - the big thing to remember is prevention.

“I witnessed first-hand how amazing the NHS staff are … but if we can prevent contracting the virus in the first place, then we can ultimately help them for the benefit of everyone.”

LSO McMeekin, who is responsible for protecting communities across Ayrshire, spoke candidly about the debilitating effects of the virus. After being diagnosed, he spent two days in a Covid-19 ward at Ayr Hospital and was still suffering the after effects two months later.

He said: “I couldn’t even walk five yards without being out of breath, but I was very lucky – there are many people, including close friends and colleagues, who have lost loved ones or suffered a lot more than myself.

“I had a hangover from the virus. I still had a cough, I experienced cold symptoms and constantly felt drained.

“That’s why we need to be consistent in our thinking, whether that be in shops, at work or anywhere else.”

The 48-year-old has since donated plasma from his blood. During this process, blood is removed from the body and the plasma antibodies are extracted before the blood is filtered back into the body.

By agreeing to donate plasma, LSO McMeekin is able to assist the process of treating Covid-19 patients.

He underlined: “We need to change the way we work, follow guidance and really start to think about the steps we need to take to make our workplaces Covid-compliant … and what a new normality will mean to us all.”

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