Hospital staff still here to help

Chris West

Published 22 April 2020

An events director is urging people to continue to seek help for medical problems during the coronavirus outbreak – after receiving life-saving heart attack treatment.

Chris West, who runs Classic Music and Motors, spoke out after figures revealed fewer people were coming to East Kent Hospitals’ emergency departments or dialling 999 for heart attack symptoms, potentially because of fears around coronavirus.

Doctors are reminding people that expert staff are still on hand to treat conditions other than COVID-19 – a view backed up by Mr West.

He said: “The message I want to get over is that the normal work is still going on with the NHS. It is their daily routines, but it saved my life.

“I received excellent care and the cleanliness in the hospital was second to none.

“These people in the NHS are saving lives – not only for coronavirus victims but for everyone.”

Mr West, from Deal, started experiencing pain in his arms after returning from a six-mile bike ride. His wife dialled 111 for medical advice and an ambulance was despatched.

After tests, crews took him to the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, where another test revealed he was suffering a heart attack.

He was transferred to the William Harvey Hospital for life-saving pPCI treatment to insert a tube to unblock the arteries leading to his heart. He then spent three days on a ward. 

Mr West said: “The service was just brilliant, from start to finish. The emergency department was so efficient and at Ashford they took me straight to the cardiac catheter unit and the doctors started working on me immediately.

“The ward was a really safe environment and I had no concerns being in there whatsoever.

“I would say to anyone else don’t be worried about going to hospital. They are there for you just like always.”

East Kent Hospitals’ Consultant cardiologist Paula Mota said people should always seek help for symptoms such as chest pain or tightness.

She said: “We are seeing fewer people than we would normally, and this is a huge concern. Numbers have dropped by almost a half.

“It may be that people are worried about the dangers of COVID-19, but the heart can be severely damaged if someone is not treated quickly, with actually a greater risk to their lives than COVID-19.

“We are continuing to provide the same emergency service for people with suspected heart attacks, and we are working to keep everyone safe, so we do encourage people to seek help if they need it.”

Paramedics will be able to run tests that will immediately show whether a patient needs hospital treatment – and if they do, the earlier the treatment is received, the quicker someone recovers.

Mr West also thanked the South East Coast Ambulance Service crew who looked after him.

He added; “If it wasn’t for Ben the paramedic and the driver, a young lady called Charlene, who drove like Lewis Hamilton, I might not still be there.

“I can’t thank everyone enough who was involved in saving my life.”