My brother Martin was admitted to St Mary's (Adult Intensive Care Unit) on Monday 19th June following a serious accident involving his motor scooter, where he sustained serious injuries including damage to his spinal cord, two broken bones to his mid and lower back, fractured ribs and a fracture to his neck at the C7 vertebrae. Martin has movement in his upper body and we hope and expect that he will continue to regain strength to his upper body, to the point where he will be able to operate his upper body as normal, however, this process is likely to take around 3 months. Regarding his lower body, we do not know the long term prognosis, but the Stoke Mandeville people who assessed him about a month ago told Martin that there is hope that he will be able to walk again, but this is likely to be a long haul, potentially a year or more. My brother has such a positive attitude and approach to life generally, and so I am convinced his sheer determination will play a key factor here!
Imperial Health Charity is an independent charity raising fuands for research and projects that help improve patient healthcare at the five London hospitals of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust: Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea, St Mary and Western Eye hospitals.
The intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital comprises sixteen dedicated level 3 beds. Patients are admitted in emergencies or as part of planned procedures in one of the specialities within the hospital. St Mary’s Hospital is one of four major trauma units in London. Other specialities include neurosurgery, vascular and upper and lower gastrointestinal surgery.
Along with Martin's wife Gill and other family members and friends visiting Martin over June, July and August, we were all blown away by the level of care and support afforded to Martin from the surgeons, consultants, doctors and nurses. After a gruelling 8 hour operation Martin was ventilated for several weeks and as part of the process of weaning patients off a ventilator the hospital use a coughing assistance machine (see picture below) which helps the patient to secrete fluids which might otherwise get trapped in their lungs, with serious implications. We were amazed that the AICU at St Mary's only has one of these coughing machines and Martin was quite anxious about this and wanted to explore ways of supporting the unit, and this is how we came up with the idea of fund raising for my Everest Base Camp (high passes) trek, which I will be attempting between 13 October to 5 November. This involves being away for 23 days with 18 days of climbing as part of an organised trek.
Martin was discharged from the AICU on 14th August into the Major Trauma ward, also at St Mary's and also where he is receiving amazing care and attention. We are hoping that Martin will soon transfer to Stoke Mandeville hospital where his rehabilitation can start in earnest. However, having witnessed the support Martin has received at St Mary's over the past 3 months both Gill and I know that without the dedication of the surgeons, consultants, doctors and nurses, then frankly Martin would not be alive today to start the next stage of his rehabilitation.
I know the NHS comes in for much criticism from many quarters, but there are a growing number of people who come into personal contact, either as a patient or a family member or friend, who cannot praise enough the shear dedication and commitment of the people involved in delivering such lifesaving services.
I am funding the entire journey myself so every penny raised will go directly to St Mary's hospital at Paddington.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the family and friends who have been sending their best wishes to Martin and shown such an interest in both his well being and progress in general. I know Martin feels blessed to have such people by his side and indeed recognises the significance this plays in his rehabilitation. Just one example was during Martin's first week at St Mary's our aunt Maureen sent a Paddington bear (see picture below) and this is something Martin latched onto immediately and wouldn't let Paddington out of his sight. Martin has insisted Paddington join me for the Everest trip and of course his place is booked!
I do hope you're able to support such a wonderful institution and in so doing enable St Mary's to support more of us.