Posted on: Monday 24th March 2014
The Sunday Mail has run a feature on lawyer Sarah Crawford who tells of her joy after she survives a pioneering operation to remove a tumour the size of an orange from her heart. Sarah was aware of the risks as her Dad Rudy is one of Scotland's top A&E consultants and chairman of St Andrew's First Aid. When Sarah Crawford hugged her mum and dad before her open heart surgery last year, she didn't know if she would ever see them again. The solicitor was about to undergo an extremely risky operation, never before attempted in Scotland. Her dad, Rudy, knew the risks too as he is one of Scotland's top A&E consultants. With her will made and her goodbyes said, Sarah, then 29, had surgery to remove a tumour the size of an orange from the wall of her heart. But thanks to surgeon Kenneth MacArthur and his team at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, Sarah made it through the operation. Her parents are eternally grateful to the NHS for saving her life. Sarah, from Uddingston, Lanarkshire, said: "I should not really be here. We are so fortunate to have such talented heart specialists in Scotland and I owe them my life. After my tumour was discovered, a heart transplant or treatment in the States seemed like the only options. My parents started to look into selling our house to finance an operation in America. So when Mr MacArthur said he'd attempt it in Clydebank, we were delighted." She added: "The surgery took five-and-a-half hours and they had a mechanical heart on standby. At one point, they had to lift my heart out of my chest. I was well aware of how dangerous the operation was but I was not afraid of dying because, if I didn't survive, I would know nothing about it. But I was terrified how my death would affect my family and was thankful that, if I did die, they would not have the ordeal of bringing my body back from the States. The health service in this country often gets taken for granted but I am living proof of just how lucky we are." Sarah, who specialises in human rights law, went to her GP last April after feeling dizzy and breathless. She suspected she had a virus and wanted to get it cleared up before a trip to Italy the following week. Sarah, whose mum Jean, 67, is a retired nurse, said: "I had started feeling dizzy and breathless and I was getting palpitations, especially at night. Dad put it down to stress and advised me to cut out caffeine and go to bed earlier. When I started getting chest pains and breathlessness after walking up Hope Street, my dad said I should go to the GP and get it checked out before our holiday." She added: "I had always been fit and healthy and wasn't expecting it to be anything sinister. Instead, I was told to go to A&E for an ECG." Rudy, 64, who is head of A&E at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Rudy and also chairman of St Andrew's First Aid, was shocked when Sarah walked through the doors of his department and devastated when he was shown the results of her ECG. He said: "The A&E nurse handed me the results of the ECG and I knew immediately that there was something very wrong with Sarah's heart. I hadn't been overly worried about her symptoms so the bottom fell out of my world when I realised how ill she really was. I deal with life-and-death situations every day in my job but nothing can prepare you for the moment you realise your daughter is living on borrowed time. "An echocardiogram revealed a growth the size of an orange between the chambers of Sarah's heart, which had probably been growing there since she was born. The tumour had to be removed as there was a risk of sudden cardiac death." A biopsy revealed Sarah had a myocardial fibroma - a benign tumour which was obstructing the blood flow out of the lower part of her heart. The condition, which is usually diagnosed in small children, is so rare that there are fewer than 150 other cases recorded worldwide. Sarah’s ground-breaking surgery – the first of its kind in Scotland – was performed by consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Kenneth MacArthur.Read the full story here.
Posted on: Thursday 20th March 2014
Journlist Keith McLeod of The Daily Record is today reporting how SARA EVANS, 29, had just returned from a course on lifesaving skills when her son Matthew, seven, began choking on a large piece of chocolate cake in their kitchen. She saved her son's life with emergency skills she had learned just an hour earlier. Staying calm she put her new techniques into action to clear the blockage in his throat, a large piece of chocolate cake. And because of her quick thinking, Matthew was fine after the drama. Sara, from Falkirk, who is also mum to Jennifer, 11, and Nathan, five, said: "I was tidying up when Matthew, who'd been eating cake, came in. He didn't say anything but I could hear him gagging and I recognised that he was showing the classic signs of choking. I knew I couldn't get my fingers in to clear the blockage so I had to use another technique. I kept calm and explained what I was going to do and that he had to cough when I told him to. This was very important as Matthew has autism and I knew he could become very distressed if he didn't know what I had to do and why. I began to slap him on the back, as I was shown at the course less than an hour before and on the fourth hit it dislodged a large piece of chocolate cake." Single parent Sara, who hopes to become a primary teacher or an educational psychologist, added she would have been prepared to use another technique she learned an hour earlier - abdominal thrusts. But she did not need to progress to that stage. She said: "When I first saw my son in that state, it was a fright, but I didn't panic and I knew exactly what to do. If it had not been for the training I received on that course it would have been very different. I would have been distressed and Matthew even more so. Afterwards, Matthew said, 'Thank you, mummy' and wasn't even upset. The whole episode was over within a minute. I would recommend parents and other members of the public seriously consider going on this course as it could help to save a life." Sara attended the two-hour Heartstart course at Forth Valley College's Falkirk campus.Read the full article here: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/brave-mum-tells-how-saved-3262119.If you would like to learn first aid skills click here: http://www.firstaid.org.uk/training