HE gave a dying woman her final wish – to marry the love of her life.
Now Dr Eliot Wilkinson, of Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, has been honoured for his actions after winning the The News Hospital Doctor of the Year at this year’s Best of Health Awards last night.
Jill Smurthwaite confided in Dr Wilkinson in April that it was her final wish to marry her partner of 28 years, Rob Capaldi.
Dr Wilkinson, with the help of other staff members from the emergency department, managed to achieve the wish within five hours, while he was still treating other patients.
Following his extraordinary gesture, Jill and Rob enjoyed 26 hours of marriage before she died the following day on Sunday April 10.
After collecting his award, Dr Wilkinson told The News: ‘It was an incredibly emotional day when it happened.
It was an extraordinarily touching moment of profound humanity that I witnessed that dayDr Eliot Wilkinson
‘To me and the staff, it seemed quite extraordinary, but at the heart of it, it was a very natural thing.
‘It was an extraordinarily touching moment of profound humanity that I witnessed that day. Jill was a very brave and courageous woman.’
The consultant in emergency medicine at the Queen Alexandra Hospital added: ‘I feel very humbled, not only to have played a part in it, but also in picking up this award.’
Jill, a civil servant, had been diagnosed with lung cancer in February, and fought the disease bravely.
Speaking at the time, Rob said: ‘The wedding did mean a lot to us and I will remember it forever, but it’s the little things that really made a difference.
‘It was Eliot, the consultant, giving me his mobile number after Jill passed away, and telling me to ring any time.’
The sign writer added: ‘I want to say thank you to everyone. I can’t put into words what a difference their kindness has made.’
Dr Jo Walker, a paediatric oncologist at QA was runner-up for the award.
A nominee for Jo said: ‘Dr Walker is loved by not only the children but adults alike for her professionalism, friendly nature, caring attitude and her very funny but cheeky manner that she adopts with all her patients.
‘She managed to make my daughter Holly laugh each time we saw her, which was every week for three months.
‘She played with Holly, made her laugh, wrote very funny comments in her hospital notes but was also very professional.’
Dr Walker said in her speech: ‘I feel very honoured to have been nominated by my patients.
‘It’s humbling to get the recognition from those who I seek to help. Thank you so much.’