‘You’re lucky to have the Lister!’ – Grieving husband praises the Stevenage doctors and nurses who cared for his dying wife

David and Samantha Harrison.

David and Samantha Harrison. - Credit: Archant

A grieving husband who lost his soulmate and the love of his life after she was struck down by a stroke has praised the ‘unbelievably professional’ care she received at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital.

Despite being ‘totally devastated’ by his wife Samantha Harrison’s death after she was taken ill with a bleed on the brain at a business meeting on January 18, David Harrison from Northumberland has already written to every member of staff who cared for his wife at the Lister, offering his thanks and says he wants to set the record straight against people who constantly complain about the NHS.

The 52-year-old told the Comet: “I’m absolutely distraught about this. This is my sweetheart I loved dearly for 30 years, but I’m buoyed up by the care we received.

“The colleague who was with my wife also works for the health service and she said everything was perfect.

“When they called 101 the ambulance was there within eight minutes.There was no waiting around in A&E, she was admitted straight away.

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“The critical care unit team were absolutely awesome, the consultant couldn’t have been better and the nursing was excellent. It was even down to the small things like asking what washing product my wife used, so they could make sure she felt it smelled familiar.

“You sometimes hear people saying that their dignity has not been protected, well there was no question of that here. It was just unbelievably professional doctoring and nursing.

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“I couldn’t praise them more.”

David, a former Ministry of Defence designer and now an engineering teacher, had dropped his wife, a senior health professional, with a colleague at Newcastle station first thing in the morning, so she could travel by train for a meeting in Stevenage.

He was expecting to pick her up again the same evening, but Sam was taken ill in the meeting and rushed to the Lister Hospital where doctors found she was suffering from a bleed on the brain.

David had just finished teaching at Newcastle College when he got the dreaded phone call.

By the time he got to the hospital, Sam was in an induced coma in the critical care unit. Doctors tried to bring her out of the coma but she died on the Wednesday.

David also praised the transplant team who he says worked around the clock to ensure that every available organ and tissue could be given to patients who could benefit.

He said he has been given great hope to think six people have had their lives changed by transplants donated by his wife.

David and Sam met as childhood sweethearts when she was just 19 years old. They worked in London for a whole but then moved north for David’s work and bought their lifelong home in the Kielder Forest in Northumberland.

The couple had no children as David said they just still loved being together.

They loved sailing together and had planned a peaceful retirement cruising on their yacht until tragedy struck.

David has returned to teaching but says he will take some time before deciding where his future lies.

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