Like many people this Christmas, my husband Richard and I have struggled through with bad colds. So we thought it was just his cough when he lost his breath as we walked home from the Hawkedon Queen with friends on Boxing Day.

He didn’t want to make a fuss and waited until Monday to see his doctor at Wickhambrook Surgery but from that point things took a more serious turn. He was sent to West Suffolk for blood tests and an X-ray. When they proved negative, we were sent back on 30 December for more tests and this time they concluded he had developed pulmonary embolisms and immediately started him on anti-coagulants. The diagnosis was confirmed in a scan on New Year’s Eve which showed a clot on each lung.RJERichard is now on warfarin and in the long run all should be well. It could so easily be a story with a different ending but for the persistence of his GP in wanting to find out why an otherwise fit, non-smoker, who walks his dogs daily, suddenly experienced what medics calls SOB (Shortness of Breath but which, until now, I thought was a rude Americanism). The staff at West Suffolk could not have been more diligent and thoughtful.

The potential seriousness of the situation began to dawn on us after we reported to A & E, on referral from the GP, and the waiting time was said to be 3 hours but within less than 20 minutes he had seen the triage nurse and been taken off for an ECG. The final sobering truth came when the doctor who discharged Richard advised us, ‘another couple of weeks and the situation could have been life threatening.’

As other people set off for a night of jollity on New Year’s Eve, we drove home to celebrate a quiet night-in singing the praises of Wickhambrook Surgery and West Suffolk Hospital.

A big thank you to everyone involved – the care and professionalism was outstanding; the NHS at its very best.