On Wednesday, June 29, I arrived home after a long drive from Great Yarmouth. I had a quick nap and was thinking about supper, but unfortunately I was experiencing stomach cramp (or so I thought).
The pain became so intense I asked my wife to call the doctor. After a couple of calls to after-hours surgery, we finally got through to 911. Minutes later, there was a first responder at the door.
This was the first of a serious of events that changed my life and view of the NHS.
The paramedic quickly put us at ease, gave me some pain relief and listened to my symptoms and called an ambulance. The next two paramedics arrived and after some deliberation I was informed that I was going to hospital.
All the time, these three people were professional, gentle and caring, treating me with dignity and generosity.
On arrival at the hospital, I was seen quite quickly considering my symptoms were not life-threatening (my view). The initial diagnosis was kidney stones, but after a CT scan it turned out to be an inflamed appendix.
Over the next 48 hours, I came into contact with more than 50 medical professionals from the ER team, the junior doctor who first saw me, the consultant who directed my diagnosis, the surgical team who operated, the nurses on three wards who cared for me and all the other departments I had to see, including the porters and the tea lady.
Every single one of these people has my gratitude and thanks for the generosity, care and dignity they showed me in that short period of my life. I would love to thank them individually, but that’s impossible.
If the NHS UK needs a model to look at for training in patient care, send it to Cramlington to see it in action in the real world.