July 29 2014 Latest news:
By Matthew Gooding
Thursday, June 26, 2014
A man who suffered a heart attack has paid tribute to a ‘life-saving’ new service that helped him in his hour of need.
Eric Foster suffered a heart attack on his way home from visiting relatives last month.
He was treated by medics at the new £1.2million 24/7 heart attack service at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, and is now on the road to recovery.
The 67-year-old, who lives in Royston, began feeling lightheaded, with a sense of indigestion, as he was driving near Ampthill in Bedfordshire at about 7pm on May 12.
He said: “I remember turning to my wife, Doreen, and saying that I thought I was having a heart attack. She called 999 and a paramedic was with us in about 10 minutes, followed swiftly by an ambulance.”
Over the next 15 to 20 minutes, the paramedics worked on Mr Foster so that his condition stabilised and he was fit enough to be transferred to the Lister – where he arrived at 8pm. He was whisked straight in to the hospital’s cardiology centre, where staff were waiting for Eric. The diagnosis – a heart attack – was confirmed and within minutes Eric was in one of the centre’s two specialist catheterisation laboratories, where he had a stent fitted to help blood flow.
After spending a few days on the Lister’s coronary care ward, Mr Foster was allowed to return home.
He said: “My cholesterol was on the high side. Since coming out of hospital, I’ve been working to get my cholesterol down – it’s going in the right direction, but more needs to be done. I’m back walking 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon, as well as watching carefully what I eat.
“It just shows how important it is to have such a high quality service available on our doorstep, no matter what the time of day. No one plans to have a heart attack, but this service is truly a life-saver.”
The 24/7 heart attack clinic opened on April 28, and a total of 34 local people have been treated – of whom 21 received their care out-of-hours, overnight or at weekends. Prior to the centre opening, ambulances attending patients having a heart attack took them to Papworth hospital in Cambridgeshire or Harefield in North-west London.
Dr Paul Kotwinski, Mr Foster’s consultant cardiologist, said: “Having a 24/7 heart attack service, means local patients like Eric can be with us in minutes. That is important, because treating heart attacks as quickly as possible, means more of the heart muscle can be saved; which improves the chances of making a full recovery. Eric has made good progress following his heart attack, and can be expected to continue to do so.”