A video has been produced to show how an innovative piece of equipment purchased by a Blackpool charity and the skills of Fylde coast surgeons saved the life of a patient.
Blue Skies Hospitals Fund was founded 25 years ago to enhance patient experience at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals. The charity raises funds to spend on patient facilities that are not traditionally paid for by the NHS.
Following a request by the Lancashire Cardiac Unit to purchase Impella Heart Pumps, the charity is now directly saving lives through the use of this innovative medical device which allows surgery to be performed on previously unsuitable patients such as George Thompson who was too unwell to undergo a general anaesthetic but was able to have lifesaving surgery using the Impella pump.
Two of George’s arteries were totally blocked and his heart was functioning at about 20 per cent. He only had one functioning lung and he doubted he would see Christmas.
“I thought I was going to die,” George, 67 from Preston, explained. “My wife Jean and I compiled a text to our family to say there was nothing the medics could do for me and I was being discharged on medication.
“My heart was not strong enough to survive a heart by-pass.”
But then a miracle happened. Blue Skies had just funded nine, single-use, Impella Heart Pumps which can keep the blood flowing in the heart while stents are being inserted. This device meant the operation could go ahead without general anaesthetic.
For a few patients like George, it can mean the difference between life and death.
George underwent a five-hour operation to have nine stents fitted and now his heart is fully recovered.
George and his wife Jean recently met up again with the consultant cardiologists who carried out the surgery, Mr Billal Patel and Mr Andrew Wiper. The meetings were caught on camera by film company, Award Productions, to publicise the success of the heart pump device.
“We cannot thank these people enough,” said George. “They saved my life and now I want other people to know that things can change, even when you think nothing else can be done.”
Cardiac consultant, Mr Wiper, said: “Without the generosity of people who give to Blue Skies we could not have brought the heart pumps. People who have given money have indirectly been involved in saving lives.”
Head of Fundraising for Blue Skies, Kila Redfearn, met George and his wife Jean and said the meeting showed how important it was for people to support the charity.
She said: “I was so pleased to meet George and Jean. I am used to seeing funding bids on pieces of paper but to meet someone whose life has been saved because of the fundraising done by Blue Skies supporters is absolutely wonderful.
“It drives home how important the work we do is and how vital the funds we raise are. Our supporters who have donated or raised money have been indirectly involved in saving lives.”
The video can be seen here: https://youtu.be/vx_-AHt-KIY