Brother rescued by an amazing team
‘Nothing can prepare you for a situation like we were in, but each member of staff who looked after Simon also helped us every day with their incredible attitudes towards work and their dedication to their jobs.’ Laura-Jo, fundraiser
Laura-Jo Dredge is fundraising for Guy’s and St Thomas’, because her brother Simon received life-saving treatment from the St Thomas’ ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) team. She held a charity ball recently that raised an incredible £20,000 for the hospital, for which we are so very grateful.
In May 2015, Simon was knocked unconscious in the water during a power boat accident in Southampton Solent. Though rescued by their dad Peter, who gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Simon was at first given a 0% prognosis.
Providing life-saving treatment
Laura-Jo says, ‘When we got him to hospital (with paramedics, air ambulance and the RNLI all on hand to assist almost immediately at the incident site), Simon was checked into A&E and taken almost straightaway to intensive care. My parents were told, “Anyone who you would like to see Simon needs to come now, because we do not think he will make it”.’
This was devastating news, but there was a possibility that a team from St Thomas’ in London could come down to provide specialist care for Simon.
In intensive care medicine, ECMO is used to support people whose heart and lungs aren’t working properly, meaning they’re unable to breathe for themselves. ECMO does this by removing blood from the body, artificially pumping out the carbon dioxide and replacing the oxygen, with up to 6.5 litres of blood at a time.
The procedure is not without its risks and is not a cure, but could buy extra time for Simon.
A miracle recovery
‘Thankfully the amazing team said they would come down, and they deemed him okay to try and go on ECMO. They arrived a few hours later, and Chris Meadows (the ECMO consultant) met with us and told us about the procedure and the risks. Then, he and his team went and did what they do best. We were incredibly lucky and they said it had gone smoothly.’
Thanks to his dad’s bravery and the critical care of the ECMO team, Simon pulled through. He was on ECMO for five days, which gave his lungs enough time to recover and repair themselves. Simon spent a total of 21 days at St Thomas’ Hospital before being transferred home, and is now in recovery and doing well.
Laura says, ‘Without the ECMO team and intensive care team in that unit, we would not be lucky enough to have Simon with us today. For that reason, I decided that I wanted to give something back, so I decided to organise a charity dinner to raise money for ECMO. We have some of the team who cared for Simon coming to the dinner, and are so excited for them to see how many people are supporting the cause.’
Laura's family at the dinner. Left to right: Simon, Mum Fiona, Dad Peter, Laura-Jo
Essential fundraising for an amazing cause
Thanks to the support of people like Laura-Jo, Guy’s and St Thomas’ is able to provide incredible care that saves lives. If you would like to contribute to her cause, please donate on Laura’s fundraising page.
‘I hope that my fundraising will enable the team to continue their phenomenal work caring for other patients, but also help to provide the support for families that we were so grateful to receive. Nothing can prepare you for a situation like we were in, but each member of staff who looked after Simon also helped us every day with their incredible attitudes towards work and their dedication to their jobs.’