Doctors And Patient Praise PDH Staff

Photo: Alan Smith
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Alan Smith isn’t often stuck for words but when it comes to the health workers who saved his life, it’s hard to find what he needs to say.

When he wrote a letter to the Portland District Health staff who saved him he consulted a Thesaurus, but still didn’t know what to write.

What can you say when I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the assistance of the staff at Portland District Health and Adult Retrieval Victoria (ARV), he says as he recovers at Cape Bridgewater.

What do you say to a group of nurses who saved your life? I'm just grateful, humbled and very thankful.

The reputation of what the PDH staff did to stabilise Mr Smith spread far and wide after he suffered a life-threatening heart attack late last year.

Dr Deb Maher from ARV later wrote to PDH to thank staff for their professional and courteous service and said they “worked brilliantly as a team.

Mr Smith heard similar praise from the teams at Footscray Hospital and Royal Melbourne Hospital.

I had a number of doctors and nurses come up to say how lucky I was. Everyone was saying where's Portland? They have some bloody good nurses down there. It's not just me saying it; it's the nurses and doctors in Melbourne saying they saved my life and did more than they thought could happen at a small hospital like Portland.

After collapsing at home on December 1 and being driven to PDH by his partner Cathy, Mr Smith needed urgent medical attention including placing a wire in his heart to provide regular small shocks to stabilise its beat.

On two occasions his heart stopped and he had to be revived.

I've heard and read about it but it actually happened twice, Mr Smith said. I can remember one of the nurses saying `stay with us Alan, stay with us'. I was actually looking down on the table where I was. It was a horrible noise and I knew it wasn’t right and then there was nothing.

They lost me twice but brought me back.

There was difficulty placing the pacing wire so an X-ray was taken to help the Urgent Care Centre staff and ARV to ensure it was correctly placed in the heart. He was then stabilised and flown through stormy skies to Melbourne.

Mr Smith, 73, spent nearly four weeks in hospital where he had a double bypass and a pacemaker installed. He is now home at Cape Bridgewater and gradually returning to good health.

He's twice gone back to PDH and admits he becomes a bit emotional when meeting his life savers.

One was going out on a date that night but stayed back; another came in in the middle of the night to help, he said.

It's a night I'll remember for the rest of my life. All the accolades deserve to go to the hospital. I'm just very thankful.

PDH Director of Nursing Ros Alexander said this was another example of the excellent high quality care provided by PDH.

I'm extremely proud of what the clinical team at PDH achieves all the time; this being only one example out of many, she said.

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