All Doom and Gloom in the NHS?
Concerned about all the headlines in the paper and worried about the way in which you would be treated if you ever had an emergency?
WELL. MARTIN PURSER WAS SO PROUD OF HIS TREATMENT BY THE NHS THAT HE POSTED THIS ON HIS FACEBOOK SITE
And then one of his friends told him to post it to the Chaplain’s Blog. So here it is! And I am totally confident that it is not a one off!
“Last Thursday evening I went to bed early because I had an early start the next day. I started earlier than I intended.
I woke up at a little before midnight with a pain in my upper left chest. It felt like a bruise or a muscle strain. It wasn’t indigestion and I couldn’t rub it to ease it. I’ve been taking meds for high blood pressure for years and so have thought about the way to react to a heart attack. I reckoned it was time to act, took an aspirin and dialled 999.
I was answered immediately and started answering questions. Is the patient breathing? Yes, I hoped I was. Then the pain went away. I tried to stop the process but the call handler insisted that we had started so we should finish. Better to have a false alarm than to miss a real one. Thank you call-handler. Absolutely right.
I went downstairs, unlocked the door and turned on the outside lights and within two or three minutes a paramedic appeared. He went straight into his routine of aspirin, ecg, nitroglycerine, blood pressure and lots of questions. Ecg was normal so was blood pressure but answers to the questions left him pretty sure that I had managed a small heart attack. He recommended that I went into hospital to have a blood test to complete the diagnosis. No Monday wouldn’t do. It should be now. Ok let’s do it.
He called for an ambulance and started completing the papers. Then he dived for the ecg. He had heard something change. He knew what was happening before I felt it. I went straight into another full blown heart attack. He handled things brilliantly. Try not to have a heart attack. But if you must have one, make sure you have a paramedic on the spot to manage it for you. Meds, pain killers, ambulance priorities, ecg. He juggled the lot confidently and professionally. And his confidence helped mine. Thank you paramedic. A really great job.
Jenny was far more worried than I but she got an overnight bag and some washing kit ready for me so that when the ambulance crew arrived (pretty soon), I was ready for a few days hols at the Royal Worcester. Good thing the ambulance crew were big lads. They carried me (14 stone -ish) down the steps from the front door to the road. The journey to the hospital wasn’t comfortable but it was quick. Once again, calm professionalism was their trademark. Thank you ambulance crew. I really benefitted not just from what you did but the way you did it.
At the hospital, the crew by-passed normal A&E and wheeled me straight into the cardiac cath lab. Two nurses were there to meet me and started the preparation for the next stage. The team assembled, I gave my informed consent for the procedure to take place and we were away. I’m not sure how big the team around me actually was. There was the consultant, the technician operating the real-time X ray camera, a physiologist and at least two nurses. I was given a local anaesthic and a catheter went up my arm. After a short while the consultant announced that he had located the blocked artery that was causing the problem. Shortly after that, he guided a tiny balloon up through the catheter and inflated it to clear the blockage. The pain and discomfort in my chest cleared instantly, miraculously. Of course I had chosen to have my blockage on an awkward, sharp bend and the next step of positioning a stent, a tiny metallic scaffolding, on the inside of the artery, took some time to achieve. But it was done and some time after 4 am, Jenny was invited to come and see that I was still in one piece. Thank you cath lab team. The technology that you had at your disposal and the skill, knowledge and compassion with which you deployed were all of the highest order.
And so I was wheeled up to the ward, wired into a monitor and recovery began. Jenny headed home, I hoped she was going to get some rest after a long, boring and, for her, worrying, night. For the rest of Friday I stayed in bed, dozed and made pretty patterns on the monitoring screen, I still had a little discomfort in my chest but only just enough to remind me of why I was there. By Saturday even that was gone. On Sunday morning I was disconnected from the monitor and was able to go and shower, shampoo, shave, etc. Luxury. On Monday I came home. The ward where I was cared for was a model of how things should be done. It was clean, uncluttered and calm. The staff, from the charge nurses to the cleaners made their patients feel comfortable and cared for. Needs were anticipated and met quickly, questions answered carefully and thoughtfully. It was proper nursing. Thank you, all of you.
There has been so much bad press about the NHS recently that I thought I would try to write about my very good and very positive experiences in a situation which, not that many years ago could have had a very different outcome. From beginning to end I met and benefitted from a succession of very good, very well trained, compassionate, highly motivated, well equipped people. And they have given me back my life.Meanwhile my friends have been great. I have had enough cards and phone calls to make it feel as if Christmas and several birthdays had all happened at once. Visits from the hospital chaplaincy were, simultaneously, an offering of and an answer to prayer. I have never been so concious of having been surrounded by loving support. Thank you all.”