Saturday 24 August 2019

Richard Bacon ‘stared death in the face’ as he battled lung infection

The presenter fell ill on a flight last year.

Richard Bacon (PA)
Richard Bacon (PA)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent

Richard Bacon has said he is more determined to get things done after a life-threatening lung infection made him “stare death in the face”.

The TV presenter, 43, fell ill during a flight from Los Angeles to London in 2018 and was put in an induced coma as doctors fought to save his life.

Bacon said being so ill had changed his perspective and given him more of an appreciation for the NHS, as he said if it had happened in the US where he lives he would have been bankrupt by now.

Speaking ahead of his guest presenting stint on ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB), he said: “It’s changed my outlook quite significantly.

“On the one hand I’m more impatient to get things done.

“You are faced with the reality of things actually being finite; you stare death in the face, it makes you get on with a lot of things in life in a much faster way.

“Death goes from something very distant to being something very real. I want to get things done I want to get done.”

You are faced with the reality of things actually being finite; you stare death in the face, it makes you get on with a lot of things in life in a much faster way Richard Bacon

The star had therapy after his illness and said he is “more focused now on what I want to get done”.

“A lot of people said I would suffer a huge after-shock that would hit me three months later but it didn’t actually happen like that,” he said.

“Part of me feels that I talk about it so much. My therapist says I’ve talked about it so much, I’ve basically made it into an anecdote and that’s made it more approachable.”

Bacon said his illness made him appreciate the NHS and the people who reached out, including GMB’s Piers Morgan, who he has previously rowed with on Twitter.

“It’s the kind of experience where something bad happens but you see the best of human nature with all these people trying to save your life,” he said.

“The system is designed to offer help to everyone, which is not the same in America, where I live.

“When you face the stark reality of death, you also see the best side of strangers and also people you know, including Piers [Morgan], who reached out to my wife and offered support.”

“My outcome would have been very different if this had happened to me in the States,” said Bacon.

“I would have been bankrupt by now. It would have been ludicrously expensive… you go to doctors for an ingrown toenail and it’s a couple of hundred.

“So, if you don’t have proper insurance, and you get the sort of lung infection I had, you would have been on the hook for hundreds of thousands.

“Yet in Britain, you just walk out and say bye, thanks for saving my life. I thanked the doctor and he said, ‘You don’t have to thank me. I’m just doing my job.’ That’s the difference.

Bacon will step in on Good Morning Britain on Thursday April 25 and Friday April 26, presenting alongside Susanna Reid and Kate Garraway.

Good Morning Britain is on weekdays on ITV from 6am.

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