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FEB 15/2016

Fiona, my hero.

 
We received overwhelming support to our new unsung #HealthcareHeroes campaign. So many people shared incredible stories about the nursing staff who have made a difference in their lives. One of the two winning dedications was from Libbi Meade. This is her story.
 

My story, by Libbi Meade.

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Last October I collected my nine year old daughter, Scarlett, from school as usual. Her teacher told me that she had needed to use her inhaler several times that day but had been in good spirits and been helping out in the classroom.
 
Scarlett has been asthmatic since she was four years old and often has wheezy episodes and more than her fair share (if there is such a thing) of chest infections. She was a bit sleepy once we got home and snuggled up in my bed.
 
She woke me at 3am to say she couldn't breathe. We used lots of her blue inhaler but it didn't seem to work like it usually did. She seemed to be having trouble getting enough air so we jumped in the car and headed for Croydon University Hospital.
 
On arrival we were put into a bay, a nebuliser was started and she was given a dose of steroids but instead of the nebuliser working as it normally would, Scarlett was getting worse. Her oxygen saturation on admission was only 80 per cent and it wasn't getting much better. We were suddenly surrounded by doctors and nurses and moved into resuscitation. The dreaded words came...
 
“She's getting very tired and we need to breathe for her. Have you ever been to intensive care?”
 
No, we hadn't but these were the very same words I had heard when I lost a newborn daughter many years ago. I can't begin to describe how the earth fell away from beneath my feet at that moment.
 
A whirlwind followed, with Scarlett taken to theatre to be sedated and intubated and the recovery team were called to collect Scarlett and take her to the Evelina Childrens' Hospital. Amid all the chaos there was one person who exuded calm… Fiona. She was one of the two nurses in the retrieval team.
 
Scarlett's lungs were too stiff for the portable ventilator to work. For the entire blue light journey across London, Fiona bagged Scarlett to keep her O2 saturations up. All the time Fiona was wearing out her hands to keep Scarlett ventilated and was explaining how it would be when we arrived at the PICU. A compartment was rummaged through and a bottle of coke brought out so I could have a drink. I was even provided with a small wash bag, such a thoughtful thing for when parents unexpectedly find themselves in a hospital overnight.
 
Scarlett spent a week and a half in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) with both lungs collapsed and what little amount of working lung she still possessed was clogged with tenacious mucous. There were several times when I thought she wasn't going to make it. 
 
It always seemed as if Fiona turned up whenever I felt the most hopeless. 
 
Fiona is one of the most lovely human beings I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Ever calm, wonderfully humorous and the most gentle soul. Fiona will forever have a place in my heart, as will all the other marvellous doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, volunteers, cleaners and EVERYONE involved in running the PICU and caring for our most poorly little ones.
 
 

Thank you Libbi!

I’m sure you’ll agree that Libbi’s story is truly heart-warming. We thank Libbi for her extremely wonderful dedication to Fiona and all of the other healthcare heroes on duty during that period. It's so good to see a smiling Scarlett in the photo above and we're so happy that she's made a full recovery.
 
If you have been supported by a healthcare hero and would like to share your story, please get in touch with us by e-mailing hayley.boulton@medacs.com

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