The 21-year-old LSE politics and international relations student was posted to the 15th floor of the Royal London hospital in January after being fast-tracked as a St John Ambulance volunteer shortly before Christmas.
Mr Michie did about 10 unpaid 12-hour shifts at the hospital, in Whitechapel. Speaking on the first anniversary of lockdown, he said his most poignant memory was holding the hand of a dying patient whose family was unable to be present.
“One of the last things to go is your hearing,” he said. “Even in the patients who were passing away, you talk and talk to them and reassure them.
“I think it’s probably the most rewarding thing I have done to date in my life – and probably the most difficult thing I have done.”
Mr Michie, who lives in Hackney, was first tasked with helping to restock the drugs store-room, and then helped to “prone” (or turn) patients onto their stomach to improve their breathing.
As the nurses recognised his abilities, he was asked to monitor patients’ oxygen and fluid levels and measure their blood gases.
He would wash and shave patients and brush their teeth. All were in medically induced comas and oblivious to their care, or the panoramic view of the capital. “You try and do as much as you can to give them their humanity back,” he said.
Mr Michie said: “On my first shifts, I used to ask the nurse in charge of the unit if there were any patients who were particularly unstable that needed closer observation.
“Then I realised it was a bit of a redundant question. You could have somebody who was totally unstable and then they would crash.
“With covid patients deteriorating so quickly you could never predict who was going to die or not.”
He recalled how, “scrubbed up, and covered head to toe in PPE”, he walked through the airlock doors to do what he could to help.
“I felt blessed to be able to pitch in with such an amazing effort by the NHS,” he said. “All of the staff were beyond welcoming and friendly.
“It also felt amazing when patients did improve. Working with a patient who had just been extubated a few hours prior and sedation weaned, brought such a smile to my face as the life came back to them. In the midst of all the sadness and pain, seeing these ‘wins’ made it all worth it.”