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Don delivered, thanks to the NHS

01 May, 2020 — By John Gulliver

THE speed and efficiency with which the National Health Service dealt with my colleague Don Ryan when he suffered a stroke is a wonderful testament to the dedication of our medical teams.

Within a few minutes of Don suffering as stroke while taking a bath in his Kentish Town home his son had phoned 999, the paramedics had arrived, and he was rushed to the National Hospital for Neurology in Queen’s Square in Bloomsbury.

There he was given two scans, including an MRI scan, and found to have a blood clot in his brain.

It was a Sunday and the hospital decided the best course was to send him immediately to Charing Cross Hospital in west London where after an hour or so he was lying on an operating table, under a local anaesthetic, while surgeons probed his brain for the clot with a wire until they found it – and removed it.

Don was conscious the whole time under a local anaesthetic and, as part of the procedure, would have talked to the surgeons while they manoeuvred the wire to the right spot.

Following the operation Don was taken back to the Royal Neurology Hospital the following day and the day after that was sent home – and extraordinary act of successful medical intervention in an ailment that used to be feared with such dread.

Now, Don, who is the distribution manager of the Camden New Journal and its sister papers, Islington Tribune and Westminster Extra, is back home with his family, taking part in physiotherapy sessions over a Zoom system – and all I can feel is amazement.

And a realisation that the NHS is a unique institution which, if this crisis has taught the nation anything, should always be honoured and protected – and, perhaps not widely known, was campaigned for by progressive doctors in the 1930s, until the Labour MP Aneurin Bevan, knitted together their dreams into the formation of the NHS.


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