Ex-nurse’s praise for NHS for saving her life

SURVIVOR Former nurse Jean Stratford at her home in Cowplain.   Picture: Malcolm Wells (120794-5042)
SURVIVOR Former nurse Jean Stratford at her home in Cowplain. Picture: Malcolm Wells (120794-5042)

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WHEN Jean Stratford began suffering chest pains, her experience as a former nurse told her she was suffering a heart attack.

She dialled 999 and within 10 minutes paramedics arrived at her home in Cowplain and whisked her to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.

Within an hour, doctors managed to open up Jean’s blocked coronary artery and inserted a metal stent to keep it open.

Now the 82-year-old wants to say a big thank you to the team of paramedics and hospital staff who saved her life and kept her calm throughout the ordeal.

Jean, who suffers from severe arthritis in her knees and back, said: ‘I was sat in my chair at 1am watching television when all of a sudden I felt this awful pain at the back of my chest.

‘At first I didn’t assume I was having a heart attack because I wasn’t getting crippling pain across my chest.

‘That’s the normal symptoms for a heart attack – which I knew because I was a nurse for 30 years.

‘But an hour later the pain still hadn’t gone away and I started shaking and feeling clammy. It was then that I realised something was very wrong and made the 999 call.

‘The paramedics were incredible. They kept me calm. They knew what they were doing and that put me completely at ease. I want to say a massive thank you for what they did. I couldn’t be more grateful.’

After doctors performed the surgery on Jean’s artery she was kept in hospitalfor three days.

Jean, who worked in hospitals around Berkshire until the age of 32, has since made a full recovery and returned to her duties as a choir singer.

‘I’ve just got back on with life,’ she said. ‘I’m a positive person and now I’m just lucky to be here. I don’t think the staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital get the credit they deserve. I’ve been told the staff who helped me that night were on call and had to get out of their beds.’

National figures reveal there are 124,000 heart attacks in the UK every year.

According to the NHS Choices, symptoms to look out for include pain in the centre of the chest – which feels like a sensation of tightness or squeezing – as well as shortness of breath, nausea, and wheezing.