GRAHAM White admits the fact he is alive is nothing short of a miracle.
And the 76-year-old wants other people who may be affected by a similar health scare to have the same opportunity to survive that he did.
The former Army bandsman is campaigning for major vascular surgery to remain at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
NHS England Wessex, the health trust which pays for the service at QA, has revealed in its latest business case that would see all major vascular operations move to Southampton.
Vascular operations focus on arteries – the vessels that pump blood from the heart to the body’s vital organs – and which can be affected by a variety of life-threatening complications.
In Graham’s case, he suffered a tear in his aorta – the main vessel leading from the heart. The episode in 2008 left him on the verge of death.
Portsmouth did not have the services at the time and Southampton was full, but Bournemouth hospital luckily had the space to treat him.
Regarding moving services out of Portsmouth, Mr White, a musician from Old Copse Road, Havant, said: ‘I think it’s a retrograde step.
‘What happened to me could happen to lots of other people.
‘If there’s a car accident, it can damage the aorta.
‘If you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm, there’s very little time to do something.
‘I believe it’s a miracle I survived. They told me it was my fitness that saved me. I don’t think they expected me to live in the ambulance.’
And he added: ‘Southampton is quite a long way away and there’s always accidents on the M27.
‘If somebody says there’s no beds at Southampton, which is quite possible because it happened to me, they will have to go to Bournemouth or maybe London. It will put lives at risk.’
But NHS officials say the changes would see further investment at Southampton, including a refurbished ward with extra beds, an additional vascular nurse specialist, and a new operating theatre. There would still be two or three vascular surgeons available at Portsmouth during the daytime every weekday to see patients in outpatients or on the wards.
Dr Liz Mearns, NHS England medical director for Wessex, said: ‘Our vision is aimed at creating a world class vascular service in our area.’
Details of a consultation will be released soon.