'Miracle' in Weston General Hospital's intensive care unit as mum survives against the odds - but will same care exist in the future?

PUBLISHED: 16:00 31 May 2017

Pat Cottrell and her family in hospital.

Pat Cottrell and her family in hospital.


The 'incredible' intensive care provided at Weston General Hospital has saved a woman who doctors thought had 'no chance of survival' - but raises questions over whether proposed changes will leave the hospital able to save similar patients in future.

Pat Cottrell, aged 65, visited the hospital for routine surgery. She went into septic shock and multiple organ failure and her ‘miraculous’ recovery was made possible by critical care staff who looked after her while she was in an intensive care bed.

But the future of those intensive care beds are in question, as NHS bosses in North Somerset are reviewing how the cash-strapped hospital can remain fully-functioning, and have suggested possible changes to its critical care unit.

MORE: NHS bosses answer questions on changes at Weston General Hospital
If one of the ideas came to fruition, it could mean the hospital’s five intensive care beds, used for people with multiple organ failure, would be downgraded to beds which treat people with just one failing organ.

Pat’s family have warned there could have been a tragic outcome if she had not been able to stay in Weston.

Cheryl and Pat Cottrell.Cheryl and Pat Cottrell.

Pat’s daughter Cheryl, who is a GP, said: “She could not have had better care. If the intensive care bed ideas had gone ahead, she would probably have been transferred to Bristol or Taunton. But staying in Weston was absolutely critical in her recovery.

They thought mum had no chance of survival so we all said our goodbyes to her. It is a miracle, and absolutely incredible and I cannot praise the staff enough.”

She added that staying in Weston, where she could be easily visited by relatives, was essential in Pat’s recovery.

MORE: What are the proposals for intensive care beds?
Hospital consultants previously warned keeping a sufficient number of intensive care beds is ‘vital’ for care to remain safe. They said most of the patients were people who became seriously unwell after they had been admitted – like in Pat’s case – and said having the appropriate help for them was ‘essential’.

The area’s clinical commissioning group is working with the hospital on how services might change in the future. It is waiting for its public engagement to be published before deciding which ideas to develop.

A hospital spokesman said possible changes to the critical care ward are just an idea at this stage, and it may have a bigger intensive care unit in the future.

Cheryl added: “My mum is incredible in her continual strength in making an amazing recovery. She wants to thank all hospital staff involved in her care, in particular the surgeons Mr Chandratreya and Mr West for the incredible 11 hour complicated bowel operation performed.”

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