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Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 869, 9 September 2015: Now build austerity fightback

Search site for keywords: NHS - Health - Hospital - Ambulance - Paul Couchman - Doctors - Nurses

"NHS saved my life"

Tory Health Minister Jeremy Hunt infuriated health workers by telling medics to 'get real' and deliver a seven-day NHS. A potentially traumatic health crisis recently showed Socialist Party and trade union activist Paul Couchman that the NHS is still functioning well at weekends, thanks to NHS staff, not to Tory cuts.

On Friday night of the August bank holiday weekend, the NHS saved my life. One minute I thought I was going to die - the worst, most debilitating pain I have ever known exploding in my heart.

A few minutes later, after an emergency call from my wonderful wife Helen, the first responder paramedics arrived, calmed me down, gave me reassurance and pain relief. Five minutes later the ambulance and two more paramedics came to take me into hospital. Helen came with me to hold my hand. Yes it was a heart attack.

Whilst this was happening, a cardiology team of at least six highly trained staff was being called in. Whether they had been sleeping, eating a meal or watching a film, they dropped everything to assemble in the cardiology lab at St Peters Hospital in Chertsey.

They were all there already to greet me off the ambulance with smiles, more reassurances and explanations as to what they were going to be doing. An hour, one removed clot and three stents later I was in the ward having a cup of tea.

The same consultant who came in to perform the operation on the Friday night was there on Saturday morning to talk me through what happened and what needs to happen next. Take note Jeremy Hunt - they were all still working.

A few days' observation and I can go home to take it easy for a few weeks at least. I have been offered ongoing complementary physio, nutrition and lifestyle advice and counselling.

If we let the politicians carve up, privatise and dismantle our health service, our socialist NHS (in principle), this will be among the greatest betrayals of our children and grandchildren ever.

Thank you to all the staff who saved my life from the people serving the tea and meals, to the cleaners who changed my bed each day. From the radiologists to the nurses, doctors and consultants who worked long hours over the bank holiday weekend to keep me breathing. I will never give up the fight to defend the NHS.






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