Eric Foster – one of the first patients to benefit from the Lister’s new 24-7 heart attack service

Case study: Eric Foster

June 2014

Eric was one of the first patients to benefit from the Lister's new 24/7 heart attack service

Eric was one of the first patients to benefit from the Lister’s new 24/7 heart attack service

On the evening of 12 May 2014, sixty seven year-old Royston resident, Eric Foster, was driving home with his wife, having spent the day visiting with family in Oxfordshire.  He began to feel unwell on the outskirts of Ampthill in Bedfordshire, feeling lightheaded and a sense of indigestion.

Eric pulled in to a layby and asked his wife to take over the driving, but before they had a chance to carry on with their journey home, Eric began to feel very unwell indeed.  It was now about 7.00pm.

“I remember turning to my wife, Doreen, and saying that I thought I was having a heart attack.  She called 999 and a paramedic was with us in about 10 minutes, followed swiftly by an ambulance.

Over the next 15 to 20 minutes, the paramedics worked on Eric so that his condition stabilised and he was fit enough to be transferred to the Lister – where he arrived at 8.00pm.  He was whisked straight in to the hospital’s cardiology centre, where staff were waiting for Eric.  The diagnosis – a heart attack – was confirmed and within minutes Eric was in one of the centre’s two specialist catheterisation laboratories.

“I was awake throughout the procedure, which didn’t take very long.  The staff – who were calm and professional throughout – explained everything they were doing.  I could actually see on the monitor the stent being inserted and blood flowing again through the affected artery that had been blocked by a clot.  As they promised, the pain I was feeling began to subside just as quickly as the blood began to flow.

Having arrived at the hospital a couple of hours earlier, Eric found himself on the Lister’s dedicated coronary care ward at about 10.00pm.  He remained there for a few more days as the doctors and nurses ran all their checks and tests to make sure that Eric was okay to go home.

“Throughout my time at the Lister, I was struck not just by the professionalism of the staff, but how caring and reassuring they were throughout – they made me feel they cared about me and what happened to me at a very personal level.”

Having a heart attack came as something of a shock to Eric, as he was not overweight, was relatively fit, had not smoked for many years, ate healthily and drank in moderation.

“But my cholesterol was on the high side.  Since coming out of hospital, I’ve been working to get my cholesterol down – it’s going in the right direction, but more needs to be done.  I’m back walking 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon, as well as watching carefully what I eat.

“Experiencing the heart attack has not changed what I do, but has made me aware of the continuing importance of eating healthily and exercising regularly.

Eric’s consultant cardiologist, Dr Paul Kotwinski, said:

“Having a 24/7 heart attack service, means local patients like Eric can be with us in minutes. That is important, because treating heart attacks as quickly as possible, means more of the heart muscle can be saved; which improves the chances of making a full recovery.  Eric has made good progress following his heart attack, and can be expected to continue to do so.”

Finally Eric commented:

“It just shows how important it is to have such a high quality service available on our doorstep, no matter what the time of day.  No one plans to have a heart attack, but this service is truly a life-saver.”

Eric Foster was born in Oxfordshire and has lived in several parts of the country before coming to Royston 10 years ago.  He is retired, having worked in the tyre wholesaling industry for most of his working life.