Family praise staff at St Bedes

Posted on Wed, 18/12/2019

A family have praised staff at St Bede’s after they helped save the life of a patient who was given just days to live.

It was the look in her eyes that told Catherine Loftus that her sister was not ready to give up fighting.

Unable to talk, it was through her eyes that she would communicate how she was feeling – and when she wanted her favourite thing “cuddles and kisses” from her family.

Critically ill in hospital after contracting sepsis, doctors warned her loved ones to be prepared for the worst and feared she had just days to live.  But they were sure she had not given up and when Norma was transferred into the care of St Bede’s here at the QE, the team vowed that as long as she wanted to keep on fighting they would fight with her.

Now, five months later, Norma is laughing and smiling and enjoying life once again and her family have sent staff this photo to say thanks for helping to save her life.

Norma, 36, has always defied the odds. Born with a rare chromosomal condition, severe learning difficulties and epilepsy, her parents were told she may not live until the age of 10. But she proved them wrong and lived with her family in Gateshead until around 2016 when, following a severe seizure, it was decided she needed 24 hour nursing care and moved to a care home in Hartlepool – the closest that was available at the time.

In May this year, her condition suddenly began to deteriorate and after contracting sepsis, despite treatment, she was showing no signs of recovery.

She was transferred from Teesside into the care of palliative care consultant, Dr Paul Coulter, and the team at St Bede’s, so that her family could always be by her side.

Under their care, she soon began to respond to treatment and after regaining her strength, she was able to leave the unit and transfer to a local nursing home.

Her sister, Catherine, 35,  said: “She’s thriving and it’s wonderful to see her smiling and laughing again. Norma can’t verbally communicate, but we could tell by looking into her eyes what she wanted or was feeling. For example, there was one look she had and you knew it meant she wanted us to give her cuddles and kisses, which she loved.

“When she was in hospital, all the medical signs seemed to be saying that there was no hope. But I just knew from her eyes that she wanted to keep fighting.

“Dr Coulter and everyone at St Bede’s were just amazing. We wanted to let them know how well she is doing and to say how grateful we are for what they did for Norma and our family.”

Dr Coulter said: “Norma is an absolute star. I am sure I can say on behalf of the team, that it is people like Norma that remind us all why we chose medicine as a career.

“Her illness was very complex, but she never gave up and we are all delighted that she is settling into her new home and enjoying life once again.

“We have all been very touched by the kind words and gifts from her family – special thoughts that will stay with me forever.”

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