"My patient journey as a liver transplantee with recently diagnosed leukaemia"
About: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Gastroenterology Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France Gastroenterology EH16 4SA St John's Hospital St John's Hospital Livingston EH54 6PP Western General Hospital / Medical Oncology Western General Hospital Medical Oncology EH4 2XU
Posted by John Linlithgow (as ),
From 1996 until 2008, I had a disease of the bile duct which eventually caused serious damage to my liver and necessitated a liver transplant, which happened at the end of 2008 at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. The NHS transplant team there were superb, and I was home from hospital in 12 days and back to full time work in 12 weeks, feeling like a new person. I cannot speak too highly of the care I received from the expert clinicians and surgeons, from the nurses and indeed from every part of the NHS system. The cleanliness of the wards and the quality of the food I was given was excellent. The follow up care has been excellent too, and my new liver has given excellent service. I enrolled for a clinical study of a novel combination of anti-rejection drugs, which has worked for me very well indeed.
Then in October last year, I was diagnosed with a very severe form of leukaemia (ALL) which for someone of my age (65) and with my medical history (on anti-rejection drugs), was very serious. The NHS again proved its excellence in devising a treatment package of chemotherapy and other drugs which resulted in the cancer going into remission after 6 weeks. Over 6 months later, I am feeling in very good health, and once again, I cannot speak too highly of the NHS clinicians at the Western general in Edinburgh, the Oncology Unit at St John’s hospital, the haematologists and nurses there, and the close support from my local GP service in Linlithgow. Once again, the NHS is showing its strength in depth, with good patient communication (which of course needs to be 2 way), and a standard of professionalism which could not be bettered. No doubt there are many challenges facing it as a result of lifestyle changes, an ageing population, and the growing extent of diseases such as diabetes, but in planning to respond to these challenges, the NHS must ensure that it does not meantime degrade the excellence of the care that it is delivering daily to patients like me.