EVERY one of us has relied on the NHS and its hard-working staff at some point in our lives. But it’s rare that we take a chance to say thank you.
This is why, in 2017, we launched our Who Cares Wins health awards.
This year, we received a record number of nominations from readers who talk about their health heroes.
In this pullout, you can read the moving, inspiring stories of the shortlisted nominees who were chosen by our judges – TV doctor and NHS GP Dr Dawn Harper, Prof Chris Moran, National Clinical Director for Trauma in England, and Prof Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer for England.
The winners will be revealed tonight at a special ceremony.
Best Health Charity
He’s a super, superhero
Eight years ago, Jamie McDonald decided to use some of the £20,000 he had saved towards a house, to fund a 14,000-mile charity bike ride from Bangkok[/caption]
THE first nine years of Jamie McDonald’s life were spent in and out of hospital due to a rare spinal condition but he has now dedicated his life to helping others.
The 32-year-old set up the SUPERHERO FOUNDATION, a charity which helps people raise money for treatment.
Jamie, of Gloucester, was diagnosed with syringomyelia as a child and was told he would be unable to walk. But his symptoms disappeared and he led an active lifestyle, getting a job as a tennis coach.
Eight years ago, he decided to use some of the £20,000 he had saved towards a house, to fund a 14,000-mile charity bike ride from Bangkok.
It raised £10,000 for the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital which had treated him as a child.
Jamie, who also suffers from epilepsy, completed more physical challenges – often in his superhero cape – and set up the charity in 2014.
He said: “We provide expertise to help people fundraise to get treatment not available on the NHS.” His charity has been nominated by Alex Paterson, 59, whose arm was amputated above the elbow after a motorbike accident 40 years ago.
He recently had surgery to retrain nerves in his arm after the charity helped him fundraise £40,000 for the op.
Alex said: “Without it, I would not be where I am today. This charity is a true champion.”
Light at the end of the tunnel
Team Domenica was started by Rosa Monckton whose daughter Domenica, 24, has Down’s syndrome and got her first job this year in a cafe[/caption]
SUSANNAH HALL had given up hope of ever finding a job she loved.
The 23-year-old has learning difficulties caused by genetic condition Williams Syndrome. It left her struggling with anxiety after being matched with unsuitable jobs.
But her mum Felicity-Ann heard of TEAM DOMENICA – and now the charity has found her a job as a pastry chef in Brighton’s British Airways i360 tourist attraction, near her Lewes home.
Susannah said: “Team Domenica are the light at the end of the tunnel I needed.”
Mum Felicity-Ann, who has nominated the charity with her daughter, said: “Her pride and confidence have grown.”
Team Domenica was started by Rosa Monckton, right with Susannah, whose daughter Domenica, 24, has Down’s syndrome and got her first job this year in a cafe.
It has a 70 per cent success rate of getting candidates into paid jobs. Domenica’s godmother was Rosa’s friend Princess Diana.
Rosa said: “She would’ve been incredibly proud of her goddaughter.”
Get Busy Living message
Matt Hampson’s dream was to open a specialist rehab centre for young people who have suffered injury through sport or a spinal cord injury[/caption]
MATT HAMPSON had a promising rugby career ahead of him when he signed for Leicester Tigers and hoped one day to play for the full England side, after being a member of the under-21 squad.
But in 2005 his life changed when he was paralysed from the neck down after a training accident. Now Matt, who spent 18 months in hospital, breathes with the aid of a ventilator.
In 2010, he set up the MATT HAMPSON FOUNDATION to raise money for others in a similar situation.
His dream was to open a specialist rehab centre for young people who have suffered injury through sport or a spinal cord injury.
After beating life-threatening pancreatitis and pneumonia in 2017, his Get Busy Living! Centre in Melton Mowbray, Leics, was officially opened by Matt and the charity’s patron, former England rugby player Mike Tindall, last October.
Matt, 34, said: “Obviously I decided to get busy living – and that’s what I tell others.” The charity was nominated by Giselle Moor, above with Matt, who was paralysed in a motorbike accident last August. She took her first steps unaided at the rehab centre in January.
Giselle, 26, of South London, said: “I could not have dreamed of this. The charity has given me hope – without it, I wouldn’t be at the level of recovery and mental state that I am.”
Best Neonatal Specialist
‘Without her we wouldn’t have our little baby boy’
Dr Vesna Pavasovic, a Consultant in Malignant Paediatric Haematology at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital with one of the many children she has helped[/caption]
WHEN seven-week-old Ralph Griffiths was given just hours to live because of a rare genetic condition, it seemed it would take a miracle to save him.
Fortunately that miracle came in the form of DR VESNA PAVASOVIC, a Consultant in Malignant Paediatric Haematology at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Ralph, from Crawley, West Sussex, was born last December with the life-threatening condition perforin deficiency and familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, where his own immune system attacks his organs.
He was given intensive chemotherapy to try to treat the condition.
Ralph’s mum and dad Claire and Will, nominated the medic for saving their son’s life.
Will said: “Thanks to Vesna and her team Ralph stabilised and the fight began to save his little life.
“With the intensive treatments, including getting Ralph on a trial for a drug not normally given to children, Vesna got Ralph to a place where he was well enough for a bone marrow transplant in July.
“Nothing has been too much trouble for Vesna.
“She comes to see us every day when we’re in hospital and will always reply to an email, no matter how late.
“Her and Ralph are a dream team together, without her we wouldn’t have our little boy.”
Modest Dr Pavasovic believes it is Ralph who deserves the award though.
She said: “Ralph was very little and very ill when we first saw him at around 1am and, by 3am, he’d started on chemotherapy, that’s how seriously ill he was.
“We needed to try and stabilise him but you need to balance disease control and toxicity of treatment which can be hard.
“I was very worried but he’s made such progress and he’s been so lovely to treat.
“I was shocked by the nomination but it’s not just for me, there’s a whole team of doctors and nurses who all played their part too.”
Ten-hour op at just 13 days
Professor Massimo Caputo carries out higly complex surgery on children, saving their lives[/caption]
ANCA PINTILEI says her seven-month-old daughter Ina Maria would not be alive if it were not for a highly complex surgery carried out by PROFESSOR MASSIMO CAPUTO.
Anca, 34, and husband Sergiu, 36, a taxi driver, took their baby home to Plymouth after she was born in February. But four days later, they found her apparently lifeless in her cot.
Anca said: “She was nearly dead. Paramedics got her breathing again. Scans revealed a heart problem and we were transferred to the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
“That’s where we met Massimo.”
Tests showed Ina Maria had a hole in her heart plus transposition of the great arteries, a condition which means the vessels of the heart were back to front.
When she was 13 days old, Prof Caputo carried out the ten-hour surgery which involved three bypasses, reconstructing her aorta and turning the vessels around.
Anca said: “At 5pm, a doctor told us it wasn’t working. But Massimo was going to try one last thing to save her. Whatever he did, it saved her life. Now she’s home, thriving and happy.”
Anca added: “He is Ina’s angel. We are forever grateful to him.”
Professor Caputo, 51, also works with the British Heart Foundation to research better treatments for children.
He travels regularly to countries such as Syria to operate on children who otherwise wouldn’t receive treatment. He said: “We feared Ina Maria wouldn’t make it. To see her healthy is a feeling I can’t describe.”
‘He saved me in womb, and baby too’
Prof Nicolaides, 66, gave Jacqueline blood transfusions until Sherrie was born, a procedure which saved her life[/caption]
WHEN Sherrie Sharp’s unborn baby was diagnosed with life-threatening spina bifida, it was her mum Jacqueline who knew just who to turn to – PROFESSOR KYPROS NICOLAIDES, the man who had saved Sherrie’s life when she was in the womb.
When pregnant, Jacqueline, had a rare blood disorder which meant her body fought off the baby, seeing it as a virus.
Prof Nicolaides, 66, gave Jacqueline blood transfusions until Sherrie was born, a procedure which saved her life. So Sherrie, of Horsham, West Sussex, was in no doubt he would be able to help her own unborn child.
She booked an appointment and was instead offered pioneering keyhole surgery – but told it had only been done once before.
Sherrie, 29, said: “It was still an easy decision. I didn’t want my son to grow up and say, ‘Mummy, why can’t I walk?’
“I had the chance to help him.”
Spina bifida is a condition where the baby’s spine and spinal cord don’t develop properly in the womb. It can cause paralysis, incontinence, learning difficulties and hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid on the brain.
Sherrie underwent the op at King’s College Hospital, London, when she was 27 weeks pregnant. She said: “Just four days later, the malformation at the back of his head started to show signs of reversing.”
Just six weeks later, in April of this year, Jaxson was born. His proud mum added: “His development is wonderful, he’s meeting milestones. Professor Nicolaides has given him a shot at a normal life. I can’t thank him enough.”
Prof Nicolaides said: “Helping babies in the womb has taken over my life. I remembered Sherrie when she told me about her family.
“I’d like to thank her for her courage to take part in this pioneering therapy.”
Volunteer support’s vital
The Therapeutic Care Volunteers at South Tees NHS Foundation Trust give up their time to offer support at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough[/caption]
A TEAM of hospital volunteers who all live with physical or learning difficulties are real heroes to wheelchair-bound Sam Watson.
He nominated the 30-strong THERAPEUTIC CARE VOLUNTEERS AT SOUTH TEES NHS FOUNDATION TRUST who all give up their time to offer support at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Dominic Jones, 57, has Down’s syndrome. Since 2014, he has played games with patients as well as making them tea and coffee.
Brian Ingram, 39, has been volunteering since 2016, despite being deaf and unable to talk.
He takes round a card with pictures of tea and coffee and makes patients the hot drink they choose.
And quadriplegic Ify Nwokora, 29, supports people like Sam, 21, on the spinal unit.
Dad-of-one Sam, from Middlesbrough, was left permanently in a wheelchair after a motorbike accident in July. He said: “Seeing Ify roll up to my bedside and knowing how fulfilled his life is gives me hope.”
Masters student Ify, above right with Sam, said: “I had two people in a similar position to me who supported me after my accident.
“Someone who has been in the same dark places can help you see life isn’t over if you’re in a wheelchair. It’s just different.”
Music is such a healer
Ben Swan, 29, started volunteering at his local Marie Curie hospice in Bradford in 2016, and set up the Swan Song Project[/caption]
WHEN his grandmother passed away, musician BEN SLACK was inspired to help the dying and their loved ones write their own songs.
Ben, 29, started volunteering at his local Marie Curie hospice in Bradford in 2016, and set up the Swan Song Project.
Student Rebecca Scott- Davis, 17, nominated the guitar player, from Leeds, for our award after her own grandmother, Orma, died from Alzheimer’s in February.
She said the song she wrote with Ben, How Can We Forget, has been life changing. Rebecca said: “It helped massively with the grief process.
Orma loved music and before she passed away she asked me, ‘You won’t forget me, will you?’
“The song was raw to work on but I’m so proud of how it ended up and that is thanks to Ben.
“He didn’t dictate anything, he just helped me figure it out. My mum cried when she heard it.” Ben, pictured with Rebecca, is trying to get the project rolled out nationwide.
He said: “The nomination has come as such a surprise but hopefully it will help the project to spread.
“Music can be so powerful, so healing – the process of creating something which will live on after someone dies is a privilege to be part of.”
Club is Niamh’s legacy
Rob Allen founded Sands United FC as a support network for bereaved dads after his own daughter Niamh died, aged 39 weeks, in 2017[/caption]
ROB ALLEN founded Sands United FC as a support network for bereaved dads after his own daughter Niamh died, aged 39 weeks, in 2017.
Rob, 32, a carpenter from Northampton, created the team in June 2018 for dads affected by sudden and neo-natal death.
They play in Northampton’s Nene Valley Sunday League.
Ross Coniam, whose daughter Norah died on the day she was born – May 29 last year – has nominated Rob for the award.
Ross, 37, from Watford, said: “I started playing for the team in January. One of the guys lost his daughter 20 years ago and has only started playing recently.
“Rob created a space where we can play together but grieve if we need to.
“We commemorate what would have been our children’s birthdays too.
“You’re captain for the day, there’s a minute’s applause, a balloon release and your son or daughter’s name on a shirt.”
Rob said: “Our first season was last year and we had 35 players signed on. I’ve had enquiries from Hong Kong, New York and Australia. It’s an incredible legacy for Niamh.
“The nomination was a surprise, I can’t believe Ross kept it quiet. We’ve both had rainbow babies in the last year too, who I’m sure will support us through the seasons.”
Saved by a hungry virus
Dr Helen Spencer, respiratory paediatrician and clinical lead for the lung transplant service at Great Ormond Street Hospital took on Isabelle’s care in 2014[/caption]
ISABELLE HOLDAWAY was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2003, aged 11 months.
She got non-tuberculosis mycobacterium in 2011, a drug resistant bacteria associated with the condition that’s usually fatal.
“Isabelle’s lung function went from around 85 per cent down to 40,” says mum Jo.
DR HELEN SPENCER, respiratory paediatrician and clinical lead for the lung transplant service at Great Ormond Street Hospital took on Isabelle’s care in 2014.
A double lung transplant in 2017 was supposed to rid Isabelle of the bacteria, but it resurfaced and on April 23 last year Jo was told Isabelle could be taken back home to Faversham, Kent, to die.
Then Jo told Dr Spencer and her team about a possible life-saving treatment.
The phage therapy – not yet approved anywhere in the world – involved giving Isabelle a course of specially tailored, bacteria-eating viruses.
Jo says: “Dr Helen worked tirelessly to jump through hoops and clear the red tape so Isabelle could be the first person in the world to have it.
“Isabelle is now back at college doing A levels and learning to drive.
Dr Helen saved her life.” Dr Spencer says her patient’s success and determination have been an honour to be part of.
“She’s the one who deserves an award,” she said.
Leia’s listening with love
Leia became the youngest person in London to have the eight-hour op, which is now available on the NHS thanks to Guy’s and St Thomas’ London Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) Service[/caption]
LEIA ARMITAGE was never expected to hear or speak after being born with a form of deafness that affects just 1,000 people globally.
Leia, eight, of Dagenham, East London, had no cochlea or auditory nerve in her ears.
Her parents Bob and Alison Armitage were faced with the prospect of raising £60,000 to take Leia to Italy for specialist treatment.
But they were spared the cost after medics from the GUY’S AND ST THOMAS’ LONDON AUDITORY BRAINSTEM IMPLANT (ABI) SERVICE agreed to carry out pioneering brain surgery.
The auditory brainstem implant (ABI) involves inserting a device in the brainstem, bypassing the nerves.
Leia became the youngest person in London to have the eight-hour op, which is now available on the NHS.
With the help of regular speech therapy, she can now talk and recently told her parents, ‘I love you’ for the first time.
Alison said: “Leia can talk without signing now and can even hold conversations. It’s exceeded our expectations.”
Professor Dan Jiang, of the ABI team, said: “To see Leia progressing so well is fantastic and to be able to provide this service to children in the country is groundbreaking.
“Now families don’t have to travel abroad like they did in the past.”
Taking all the pain away
Mr Vajramani performed a world first procedure last December, fitting Alison with an electrical implant combined with a spinal cord stimulator to block pain messages[/caption]
LIVING with chronic pain since she was 17, 56-year-old Alison Cameron from Southampton is now pain-free and has nominated neurosurgeon GIRISH VAJRAMANI from the University Hospital in the city.
Mr Vajramani performed a world first procedure last December, fitting Alison with an electrical implant combined with a spinal cord stimulator to block pain messages.
It meant Alison was pain-free for the first time since an appendix op went wrong almost four decades ago.
“I don’t remember life without chronic pain,” says Alison, “but I feel incredible now.
“I endured 20 surgeries and 30 cryoblock injections to try and treat the pain but Mr Vajramani never gave up on me.
Mr Vajramani says when he started treating Alison, other doctors had given up on her. “Her case was so complex.
She’d had so many procedures to help her manage the pain but nothing was working.
She was on strong opioids which left her with no appetite and she’d lost so much weight she was on a feeding tube.
“When we performed the procedure we’d hoped for a fifty per cent reduction in pain. We got one hundred per cent.
“The nomination is amazing – but so is Alison for having lived in pain for such a long time. Giving her a future to look forward to has been wonderful.”
Army reservist has gone from Afghanistan to Cornwall
Part-physician, part-action man, Dr Boulter not only works tirelessly as a local GP at Clare Street Medical Practice, Penzance, he is also the RNLI lifeboat doctor[/caption]
“EVERY town should have a Dr Boulter,” says Sue Robinson, 70, of Penlee, Cornwall, who has nominated her GP DR MATTHEW BOULTER for his dedication and hard work in the community.
Part-physician, part-action man, Dr Boulter not only works tirelessly as a local GP at Clare Street Medical Practice, Penzance, he is also the RNLI lifeboat doctor, and works with the local rugby team and kids’ boxing club.
He is an Army reservist who served in Afghanistan as a medic and teaches combat-zone medicine to fellow Army doctors.
Sue, a patient of Dr Boulter for 12 years, said: “He and his GP partners took out private loans to the tune of £6million to get us a new health centre built because he was working out of a cabin in the garden of the old centre. There’s nothing he won’t do if it means it helps the community.”
In 2008 he helped save the local urgent care unit when it was threatened with closure.
“He started social prescribing (linking-up patients with experts for face-to-face counselling) in Cornwall before the rest of the country followed suit,” says Sue.
Modest Matthew, 52, switched from working in Orthopaedics in Leeds to a General Practice job in Cornwall in 2007.
The father-of-one said: “I didn’t start out intending to be as involved in the community.
When I moved here the Urgent Care Centre was under threat of closure, so I went in to bat to save it and when it was successful, people noticed and one thing lead to another.
“It’s my community too, though. I’m as much of a patient as everyone else so it’s in all our interests that we have a great RNLI team, great local medics for our sports teams and proper local services.
“It’s such a shock being nominated but I love my jobs – all of them.”
Wise counsel from retiree
Patient Louise Eaton, 29, who lives in the village, nominated GP Margaret for the dedicated service she has given her family over three decades[/caption]
DURING more than 30 years service as a GP in the village of Brinscall, Lancs, MARGARET FRANCE always went above and beyond for patients.
Now retired, Margaret, 63, has taken on even wider responsibility on behalf of the community as a local councillor.
Patient Louise Eaton, 29, who lives in the village, nominated GP Margaret for the dedicated service she has given her family over three decades.
Louise, right with Dr France, said: “I started seeing Margaret when I was a little girl. My brother James is 27 and has a rare genetic condition that causes tumours to develop in the brain, skin, kidneys, heart, eyes and lungs.
“When his Personal Independent Payment was wrongly taken from him in 2017, Margaret helped us with the appeal process by submitting evidence and attending court with us.
“Her hard work and dedication didn’t just reinstall his benefits, it increased and back- dated them. Our family will never be able to repay Margaret. She has public service running through her veins and our community is that much richer for having her.”
Margaret says: “I was given a very expensive education for free by this country. It’s my duty to pay back that debt however I can. There’s a great satisfaction in fixing somebody’s problem. I was able to do that for 35 years as a GP and I can do it now as a councillor.”
Compassionate carer: ‘I’m just a do-er’
Retired businessman Sanjay Chandara, 54, from South Woodford, East London, says the dignity and dedication of Dr Sinha is why he chose to nominate him[/caption]
THE elderly care ward at Whipps Cross hospital in East London, headed by DR BIJAY SINHA, boasts the best discharge rate and lowest readmission rate in the country.
Yet the consultant physician certainly doesn’t rest on his laurels, arguing that his job is about more than figures.
He said: “I don’t believe our job stops when someone goes home.”
Retired businessman Sanjay Chandara, 54, from South Woodford, East London, says the dignity and dedication of Dr Sinha is why he chose to nominate him.
Sanjay’s father Jayantil was under Dr Sinha’s care for three years until his death in July aged 84 from multiple health issues.
Sanjay said: “My father was a proud man but recurring health issues and several in-patient stays would leave him feeling very low.
“Dr Sinha would always pick up on this and spend extra time with him despite having an entire ward to look after.
“It meant the world to Dad to know someone with such compassion cared for him.
When Dad passed away unexpectedly, Dr Sinha not only came to the main community prayers but also to his funeral.”
Dr Sinha added: “Sanjay’s father was one of the nicest men you could ever hope to meet. He had complex health issues but I’d see him often to make sure he was comfortable.
“I’m so passionate about what I do and the care I give.
“If I think someone’s housing is inadequate or his or her care isn’t right, we have a hospital social worker I can speak to.
“A holistic approach to care will mean people who go home can stay at home.
“Being nominated is such a surprise and an honour but I’m just a do-er. The NHS is staffed by do-ers who get on and make things happen.”
Jennie and Jane defy history
Mum of Britain’s youngest surviving premature twin boys has nominated Jane Parke, the midwife who flew with her in a rescue helicopter[/caption]
THE MUM of Britain’s youngest surviving premature twin boys has nominated JANE PARKE, the midwife who flew with her in a rescue helicopter.
Jennie Powell, 41, of Brighton, was on holiday in Cornwall when she went into labour at just 22 weeks and five days.
It was a terrifying time as just two years’ earlier Jennie and husband Rich had lost a son, Linnie, born at 23 weeks.
Jennie said: “It felt like history repeating itself. ”
Jennie was found to have an infection and had to be transferred by helicopter to a specialist unit in Oxford.
Jane was with her on the 75-minute flight and refused to leaver her side as she went in to hospital, missing her flight back.
Twins Jenson and Ruben were delivered by caesarean section.
Jenson was given a zero per cent chance of survival while Ruben had at best a one-in-three chance – but against all odds, they survived.
Jennie said: “Deep down Jane knew it was likely the boys wouldn’t make it but she stayed calm and helped me stay positive.
“She was very professional. I felt like I’d known her for ages and was in the best possible hands.”
Jane, 55, said: “It was very emotional knowing I’d played a small part in keeping those babies alive.
“It wasn’t just me, it was a team effort but it’s being involved in cases like this that make my job worth doing.”
What a Day that was…
Midwife Charlotte Day gave birth just ten hours after delivering another mum’s baby[/caption]
CHARLOTTE DAY gave birth just ten hours after delivering another mum’s baby.
The midwife had already started her maternity leave at 34 weeks, but such was her dedication she pitched in with extra shifts to help overstretched colleagues in August at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London.
Charlotte’s fellow midwife Charlene Daniel, in uniform with the new mum has nominated her for the award.
She said: “She is a wonderful midwife. Nothing is ever too much trouble. She would do whatever she needs to make sure her ladies get the best care. They love her and we love her as well.”
Charlotte, 29, who lives in Morden, South London, said: “I decided to do a few extra shifts when things were looking a bit short-staffed.
“I was 35 weeks and five days pregnant when I went in and delivered a baby around 7.30pm. After I got home, I felt a few niggles. It was 2am when I decided we should go to hospital. It was a shock to find myself back there.
“I didn’t even think I was in labour. I was in complete denial but at 5.26am I delivered Milo, weighing 5lb 10oz.
“Lots of people said I must be exhausted but I was on a high after delivering.
“Yes I’d been busy at work, but I wasn’t tired. I felt on top of the world.”
TV star is real-life star, too
Mums praised Naghmeh Teymourian, who has worked at The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, Essex, for 39 years, for her caring attitude[/caption]
NAGHMEH TEYMOURIAN earned herself an outpouring of love on social media after appearing in Emma Willis’ Delivering Babies TV series.
Mums praised Naghmeh, who has worked at The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, Essex, for 39 years, for her caring attitude.
She has been nominated by Cincita Ribeiro, 37, from Bishop’s Stortford, Herts, after delivering Cincita’s third child Joao, whose birth was seen on the TV show earlier this year.
Cincita, right with Joao and Naghmeh, has two older children Rafaela, seven, and Antonio, three.
She said: “I met Naghmeh when I had Antonio. She didn’t deliver him but was very helpful when it came to breastfeeding.
“This time I was blessed enough to have her. Naghmeh knows all the tricks of the trade and has so much experience.
“After people watched me on the show, they said: ‘You were so calm.’ It was Naghmeh that put me at ease.” Mum-of-two Naghmeh, 60, of Sawbridgeworth, Herts, trained as a midwife after fleeing war-torn Iran.
She said: “I’m now delivering the babies of babies I delivered. They show me a picture with their own mothers.
“For me it’s a privilege to be part of someone’s life when they are at their most vulnerable. I feel incredibly humbled to have been nominated.”
Doc’s roadside miracle
Biker John O’Brien ‘died’ at the roadside following a crash but was saved after Dr Mark Forres performed open heart surgery at the scene[/caption]
BIKER John O’Brien “died” at the roadside following a crash but was saved after a doctor performed open heart surgery at the scene.
Construction worker John, 48, of Warrington, Cheshire, was on his motorbike travelling at 50mph when he collided with a car last October.
As paramedics tried to treat his injuries – which included a fractured skull, broken back and shattered pelvis – he suffered a cardiac arrest.
DR MARK FORRES was initially treating the other casualty at the roadside. He cut open John’s chest and massaged his heart until it resumed beating.
No one else in the world has survived such blunt trauma.
Dr Forrest, Medical Director of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Normally with blunt trauma like this you wouldn’t consider surgery… there’s usually no point.
“But I thought it was worth a try. Within 30 seconds his heart started to respond.” John was transferred by air ambulance to hospital for more surgery. He learnt to walk again in time to escort his daughter Amy, 26, down the aisle in May.
John, who is nominating Dr Forrest for the award, said: “I’m in awe of the medical professionals. There was zero per cent survival rate.
“I’ve got the name of ‘Miracle Man’ now.”
Porters’ precious cargo
Mum-of-four Sarah nominated Ruth Lowe and Nick Evans after saving her baby boy’s life[/caption]
TWO quick-thinking hospital porters saved the life of a seven-week-old baby boy when he suddenly stopped breathing in his mum’s arms.
Sarah and Mike Clifford had just walked into the main entrance of the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford to visit a sick relative in July when little Logan turned blue.
Sarah, 30, said: “He’d stopped breathing. Logan was born seven weeks premature and had chronic lung disease but nothing like this had happened before.”
Porter RUTH LOWE heard her screams and alerted colleague NICK EVANS.
He grabbed Logan and performed CPR on him as he raced off to A&E.
Nick, 48, continued CPR until the resuscitation team took over. The two porters waited outside with the pair until they knew he was OK.
Ruth, 47, said: “Hearing him cry was such a relief.”
Logan, now four months old, stayed in hospital for five days. Nick and Ruth visited and bought him a teddy bear.
Nick, a porter for 30 years, said: “I’ve done CPR on adults before but never on a child. It made me emotional.”
Mum-of-four Sarah, who nominated the pair, said: “I have thanked them a million times but it will never be enough. They’re my heroes.”
Mike sparked my heart
Mike Merrett, of Stroud, Gloucs, joined the South Western Ambulance Service aged 20 and saved countless lives during his career as a paramedic[/caption]
MIKE MERRETT has dedicated his life to helping others.
Mike, of Stroud, Gloucs, joined the South Western Ambulance Service aged 20 and saved countless lives during his career as a paramedic.
The 70-year-old retired in May and among those at his leaving do was former patient Mandy Palk, 51, who has nominated him.
Mum-of-two Mandy, right with Mike, was suffering from chest pains while at home in Kings Stanley, Gloucs, last September and called 999.
Mike and another paramedic were called out. He gave her CPR and used a defibrillator to restart her heart.
Mandy said: “I’ve known Mike for 40 years and I felt reassured when I saw him. I said, ‘Oh, hello Mike!’ then collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.
“I had an eight per cent chance of survival but Mike carried on with chest compressions and shocks until I came back. He saved my life.” He was also dubbed “Magic Mike” by one six-year-old girl he was called out to after she was struggling to breathe.
And he discovered he had saved the life years earlier of a colleague, who suffered severe burns as a two-year-old, when she started working at Stroud Ambulance Station.
Father-of-four Mike, said: “I loved the job, it was brilliant. I’m so glad Mandy pulled through.”
Takling the rise of superbugs… together
ALEXANDER FLEMING – the scientist who discovered the first antibiotic, penicillin, more than 90 years ago – predicted that antibiotics would become resistant naturally if they were not used properly.
And he was right. Over the years, that is exactly what has happened – leading to the rise of superbugs.
Resistance to antibiotics has caused a decline in life expectancy, the Office of National Statistics says.
Government superbugs supremo Jim O’Neill has said that if current trends continue, infections could kill ten million people a year by 2050.
A world without antibiotics may be like a medical Dark Ages, experts warn, with now-routine treatments such as hip replacements and chemotherapy becoming life- threatening.
The issue has received a lot of attention lately.
Last month, Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies said superbugs “could kill us before climate change does”.
People are starting to take notice of this impending threat. Pfizer UK – one of the largest providers of medicines to treat infections, having first mass-produced penicillin in the UK in the 1950s – has joined the fight against superbugs.
It is working with scientists, doctors and academics to educate the public and health workers about antibiotics and how to use them responsibly, limiting bacteria’s ability to develop resistance.
This includes the firm’s campaign Superbugs: Join The Fight, working in schools with the National Schools Partnership and teachers across the country.
As new antibiotic development is key to safeguarding healthcare, Pfizer is proud to play a role in bringing industry and the Government together to look at how antibiotics are reimbursed, ensuring future innovation.
While the world is finally starting to take notice, here is what YOU can do to help tackle what is regarded as one of the most complex health challenges of our time.
– KEEP yourself clean and healthy. The simple act of washing hands can stop infection spreading.
– USE antibiotics correctly. Don’t take antibiotics for common colds. If you are prescribed a course of antibiotics, always follow the instructions you are given by your doctor when taking them.
– KEEP vaccinations up to date for you and your family. Everyone knows the saying “prevention is better than cure”.
– SPREAD the word. To win the fight, we must all take action. Antibiotic resistance is a complex problem with no single solution – but together we can fight the superbugs.
‘His support went above and beyond’
Senior charge nurse Carlton Decosta works long hours in the intensive care unit – and still makes time for his patients after his shift has ended[/caption]
SENIOR charge nurse CARLTON DECOSTA works long hours in the intensive care unit – and still makes time for his patients after his shift has ended.
And now his hard work has been rewarded after he was nominated for Best Nurse award by a former patient, Wendy Lemard.
Wendy, 49, spent time on the ward at Newham University Hospital in East London after falling into a diabetic coma last May.
The mum of three said: “Carlton took it upon himself to buy me food and drink out of his own pocket when I was coming out of the coma. This is something that is very rare within the NHS and he did not have to do it but he did.
“He made sure that when he left the unit for the day that he would come and sit with me and spend time with me before he left.”
Carlton, 49, also gave his support to Wendy’s three children – Cassandra, 27, Andre, 21, and Dequan, seven – through the difficult time.
Wendy, of Forest Gate, East London, said: “The thing that touched me most about Carlton was his care and support for Dequan, as he knew I had lost my partner four years before.
“Carlton was aware of how hard it was for my son losing his dad and having to deal with me being in a coma. He sat with Dequan and told him in simple terms what was happening with me.
“Carlton did go beyond his job description and deserves recognition.
“After being in a coma my memory at the time was not 100 per cent and it took flashbacks to piece certain bits of the puzzle together.
“The one thing that stood out in my mind while on the general ward and after discharge was Carlton.”
Carlton, 49, was shocked to hear he had been nominated.
He said: “It made me a bit tearful, actually. I find my job very rewarding and I love caring for patients.”
Selfless Liz goes extra mile
Liz Monaghan is the Matron for Palliative and End of Life Care at the Florence Nightingale Hospice, based at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, Bucks[/caption]
Caring LIZ MONAGHAN is always willing to do that bit extra for her patients.
She is the Matron for Palliative and End of Life Care at the Florence Nightingale Hospice, based at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, Bucks.
And she set up the Purple Rose initiative to improve care for patients and their loved ones in the final days of their lives.
Liz, 53, who has worked in palliative care for three decades, said: “It has never got easier to tell someone they are dying – nor should it. You have to get it right.
“Also if I can get someone’s relatives to the point where they say, ‘That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be’, then I know I have done a good job.” The Purple Rose was introduced in January. Staff have access to resource boxes on each ward that bring together practical information.
It includes a purple rose to place on the door or curtain to allow further privacy.
Liz introduced purple drawstring bags for deceased patients’ personal belongings – initially using her own money to fund these – instead of the standard envelope.
She said: “The purple rose is a symbol that ties together all the work we do.”
Liz has been nominated by Elaine Trump, 70, a member of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust’s Patient Experience Group.
Elaine said: “It makes a difference when you get a person like Liz. She does that extra bit so selflessly.”
Mum would have died without Magaret
Margaret Ballard, 57, has been nominated by Sharon’s daughter, Nikki Capp, for saving her mum’s life that day in January[/caption]
PRACTICE nurse MARGARET BALLARD immediately knew patient Sharon White was gravely ill when she arrived at her surgery.
She administered oxygen straight away before getting Sharon, 59, transferred to hospital, where she was treated for sepsis and double pneumonia.
Margaret, 57, has been nominated by Sharon’s daughter, Nikki Capp, for saving her mum’s life that day in January.
Nikki, 28, a customer services advisor, who took Sharon to The Village Surgery in Caerphilly, South Wales, recalled: “Mum had gone downhill rapidly. She was short of breath and wasn’t very responsive.
“When she arrived at the GP surgery, her blood oxygen level was 81, which we learnt was so low that a person could die in their sleep. Margaret was shocked to see my mum this way.
“However, she was very professional, focused and comforting. She sent us straight to hospital and has helped my mum in her recovery.
“When Margaret saw my mum for a check-up, she admitted she thought she’d never see my mum again.”
Margaret has been a nurse for 37 years and has worked at the surgery since 2007.
Back then, it was classed as “failing” and she was asked to become a partner in the practice to help turn it around.
Margaret said: “It was pretty poor when I got here. It’s successful now.”
Sharon, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said: “To me, she is like Florence Nightingale. She is everything to me.
“I’m so grateful. The NHS saved my life – and Margaret was the start of it.”
Mental Health Hero
Tireless effort for his bro
Ben West has raised £45,000 for charity and with his Save Our Students petition campaigned for better awareness of mental ill-health in schools, after his brothers suicide[/caption]
TEENAGER BEN WEST was shattered by grief after his brother Sam took his own life.
But rather than suffer in silence, he started raising awareness of mental health to help prevent other families suffer the same loss.
He has raised £45,000 for charity and with his Save Our Students petition campaigned for better awareness of mental ill-health in schools.
Now his efforts have earned him the award nomination.
Ben’s brother Sam, 15, was found hanging in January 2018 after suffering depression.
Ben tried to revive him while mum Michelle called an ambulance. But sadly Sam died.
Ben, from Staplehurst, Kent, said: “I didn’t know he’d been diagnosed with depression.
“He only told my mum. Sam worried about being judged. It shouldn’t be like this.”
Ben, 19, launched WalkToTalk, where people can walk while discussing mental health.
The event in August 2018 raised £15,000. An account on JustGiving raised £30,000 and Ben set up the Sam West Foundation to promote awareness of mental health.
Ben was nominated by pal Sebastian Yeandle, part of the WalkToTalk team.
Ben said: “I hope Sam would be proud. It’s good to know we’re helping people and being recognised for it.”
A passion, not just a job
But Lindsay Thirlwell says counsellor Beth Gregan provided invaluable support to her sons as she and her husband John endured gruelling medical treatments[/caption]
FINDING out Mum had breast cancer and Dad had a brain tumour was a huge ordeal for Harry, eight, and Theo, six.
But Lindsay Thirlwell says counsellor BETH GREGAN provided invaluable support to her sons as she and her husband John endured gruelling medical treatments.
Lindsay, from Newcastle, said: “It was incredibly hard on the boys to see both parents fighting for life.
“I went to a support group called Maggie’s and they mentioned to me about Beth, a family and bereavement counsellor. She first saw the boys last October and has been seeing them ever since.
“At first they wouldn’t talk about it at all. Beth has been amazing at getting them to open up about their feelings.
“She does a lot of play therapy with them. Now, the boys always tell us if something is worrying them.”
Beth, 25, works for St Oswald’s Hospice in the city.
She said: “It’s an absolute privilege to be nominated for this award. So many people have tried to help Lindsay and her family so I’m honoured that she chose me.
“I have helped her not because it’s my job but because I want to help.”
Beth, above right with Lindsay, added: “My job is not just a job, it’s a passion.
“I love what I do and they are such an amazing family. In the past two years, I have worked with 94 children.”
Help in very dark times
After having her son, Catherine Benfield battled perinatal OCD – staying up all night to check his breathing[/caption]
AFTER having her son, CATHERINE BENFIELD battled perinatal OCD – staying up all night to check his breathing.
Catherine, 39, was plagued by intrusive thoughts about her baby coming to harm, so never left home. But she also feared harming him herself.
Now fellow sufferer Kim French has nominated her for our Mental Health Hero award for raising awareness of the condition – and helping others who have it, including herself.
Catherine, far right with Kim, said: “I threw away all knives in my house as I’d get intrusive thoughts about hurting my son.
“I couldn’t go near a train station platform, as I worried I’d push the pram off.”
Catherine, of East London, was misdiagnosed with post-natal depression and only with OCD once her son was two.
When he turned three, she wanted to raise awareness.
She gave her OCD a name, Olivia, to help deal with it and set up a blog called Taming Olivia which has been read by thousands of people.
Catherine, who also works with OCD charities, says: “Talking about thoughts that involve harming your child is scary. Parents worry social services will get involved. But often people say they went to a GP after reading my blog, which means a great deal to me.”
Kim said: “Seeing Catherine’s story online told me I was not alone. She then supported me through very dark times.”
A Kait save
Quick-thinking and resourceful Kaitylyn Wright called 999 and saved her mum’s life[/caption]
KAITYLYN WRIGHT was just four years old last November when her mum Charlene, 34, suffered a fit caused by her fibromyalgia.
Quick-thinking and resourceful Kaitylyn called 999 and saved her mum’s life.
“When Kaitlyn was three, I got her a pink Disney phone and taught her our address and how to call 999,” Charlene said.
“But never for one second did I think she’d have to do it.
“My partner Simon was popping to the shop but Kaitlyn wanted to stay with me.
“I felt fine and knew he’d only be 15 minutes but the last thing I remember is him going, then I woke up with paramedics around me.”
Kaitlyn, now five, had called the emergency services, given them the town where they lived and described their house.
By the time Simon got back to the house, in Askerswell, Dorset, she had moved Charlene into a comfortable position.
“She’s my hero,” said Charlene. “I could be dead without her. I could have swallowed my tongue or knocked myself unconscious but Kaitlyn didn’t panic. She knew what to do. I cry when I listen to the call she made.”
Bristol-based Jess Hodkinson, who is an emergency medical dispatcher for the South Western Ambulance Service Trust, kept Kaitlyn talking so they could find her address.
She says: “I thought it was an accidental call at first. But then Kaitlyn said, ‘Mummy’s had a fit’ and I knew we had a serious situation on our hands.
“Calls like that don’t always result in people waking up again so I tried my best to keep Kaitlyn calm. But she was so good.
“She wasn’t flustered. She was clear and concise and is a credit to her parents. She saved her mum’s life that day.”
Bella is best of buddies
Bella’s sister Molly passed away from an inoperable brain tumour in 2010, when Bella was five.
Since then, Bella has helped raise £115,000 for Haven House, the hospice that helped her family after Molly died at home. She is also part of Haven House’s Buddy Scheme, helping other youngsters deal with grief.
Sophia’s older sister Issy died in 2015 from an undiagnosed heart condition, aged 14.
Now Sophia says: “Bella and I were brought together through a counsellor we shared at Haven House. Bella has been through so much herself.
“Not only has she had to deal with her own grief, she’s been there to help me with mine. Bella has always encouraged me to share Issy and keep her memory alive.”
Sophia’s mum Della, 47, says: “They both had to grow up quickly. I am certain they will always be friends.”
Modest Bella says: “When Mum told me about the nomination, I felt really emotional and very surprised. It’s such an honour to be nominated alongside such amazing young people.”
Ronnie’s great gift to Bubbin
LITTLE Ebonie Musselwhite, eight, from Crawley in West Sussex, battled leukaemia for half her life. The brave unicorn fan passed away on July 2.
Before she died, Ebonie nominated her little brother Ronnie for our Who Cares Wins Young Hero award.
The stem cells he donated bought Ebonie precious time with her family.
“Ebonie was diagnosed with leukaemia aged four,” says mum Christine Jenkins, 40. “In January 2018, Ronnie gave Ebonie some stem cells.
“But she developed leukaemia in the central nervous system and despite treatment, we were told nothing further could be done.”
Cruelly, Christine and partner Ben Musselwhite, 40, know Ronnie’s stem cells worked.
“Ebonie’s blood was clear of leukaemia when she died,” says Christine. “Ronnie’s stem cells did what they were supposed to do but it came back somewhere new. He saved Ebonie’s life but it’s a cruel disease.”
Ronnie misses sister “Bubbin” – a nickname for her – but spends lots of time in the garden her family created in her memory. He says: “Bubbin was my best friend. Nothing is the same without her.”