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The NHS scored a hat-trick when it saved Brian Marshall’s life three times

20 March 2018


Brian from Bedfordshire shared his story about why he loves the NHS for Bedfordshire and Luton Clinical Commissioning Groups’ NHS70th birthday celebrations. To share your story about why the NHS is special, email the CCGs at NHS70.Stories@nhs.net

“I am grateful to the NHS for so many things, but especially for saving my life, not once, but three times, so it’s a huge thank you from me for the NHS70th birthday.

On May 27th 1971 I was driving along the Moggerhanger bends near Sandy when a car which was being chased by police hit me head-on. I was badly injured and had to be cut out of the driving seat of the J4 van I had been driving – but the Sandy Fire Brigade did a wonderful job and I was taken by ambulance to A&E at Bedford Hospital.

I ended up in intensive care, and my right arm was seriously injured at the elbow. The surgeons were going to amputate, but luckily for me, a last minute second opinion saved my arm; it was a miracle. I received the most tremendous care from Bedford Hospital for my injuries. After 10 days I was back home and soon back to work with a repaired right elbow. I learned how to use my left hand for tennis and squash, transferring to my right hand for forehand shots; it worked a treat and I achieved great results and was playing well, and I soon got back to playing cricket. Bedford Hospital saved my life with quick actions and great care.

Seven years later, in July 1978 I was hit on the head by a bouncer ( a type of delivery by a cricket fast-bowler) while playing cricket for the Caldecote league team and was knocked out. I was treated at Bedford Hospital’s intensive care ward for a bad injury to the left side of my head. I felt it was my own fault as I should have hooked the ball, but instead I had missed, and of course there were no safety helmets then.

I had to have a cut on the side of the head to relieve the pressure caused by the injury to my sygomatic arch – which is the bony area from your cheekbone up to the side of the skull. Thank you NHS for once again saving my life. My wife told me later that "the last rites" were being considered that time.

In October 1997 I underwent surgery to treat a serious stomach problem. I had developed Barrett’s oesophagus after several years of severe indigestion and acid reflux – and had a family history of cancer of the oesophagus (the tube which carries food from your throat to your stomach), from which my father died in 1981.  Surgeon Mr Foley performed a “Nissen's Fundoplication” procedure, where the top of the stomach is used to strengthen the valve so it is less likely to allow food, drink or acid to travel back into the foodpipe. Once again I felt I owed my life to the NHS.

Over the years, I like many other grateful patients, have tried in my own way to give something back – for me it was running marathons, and I walked with cricketer Ian Botham on NHS fundraising events. I wanted to share my story to celebrate the NHS70th birthday and to say a very sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

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