Funeral director's heartfelt thanks to hospital staff who saved her life
- Credit: Debbie Stewart/ Chris Kot
A west Norfolk funeral director has expressed her heartfelt gratitude to "super human" hospital staff who saved her life after receiving treatment for severe sepsis, a lung infection and Covid.
Debbie Stewart, of RH Bond in Stoke Ferry, has praised NHS staff for their hard work during the pandemic after witnessing first hand the efforts they go to while being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn.
The mum-of-two said staff saved her life after she was admitted to hospital on January 24 with severe sepsis and pneumonia following a sharp pain in her left side which "no words could explain."
She said she was in a "serious way" as her body was shutting down and needed a nebuliser to help her breathe while being treated on the Sandringham Ward for sepsis and a pleural effusion
She caught Covid-19 a week after being in hospital and was moved to the QEH's Windsor Ward.
Mrs Stewart said: "Even though I’m a funeral director dealing with awful things every day, what I witnessed in Windsor Ward will stay with me forever - two patients sadly passed away before my eyes in the bay I was in."
Speaking about her treatment, she said: "The speed the doctors and nurses worked at to get me the medication I needed so urgently saved my life.
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"I was told had I stayed at home 48 hours longer, it may have been too late for me."
The funeral director said the day after her admission a doctor came to check up on her on his day off to see if she had pulled through.
She added: "This surely proves the absolute dedication staff have to their patients. It proves I’m not just an NHS number. I am a person and he wanted to save my life.
"On day eight a bombshell - I tested Covid-19 positive. I was utterly crushed.
"The harrowing, heart-breaking scenes, images, sounds and visions I have of my five days on Windsor will remain with me forever."
Mrs Stewart was discharged from hospital on February 3 and has said she has a "very long road" to a full recovery but looks to carry on with her business.
She said: "The staff on both wards are superhuman. The care is outstanding, the love, dignity and level of respect shown to the patients will be in my heart forever.
"The NHS are a credit to our country, the people that work there are angels without wings, martyrs and warriors. They just dig deep and get on with it often without breaks or lunch."
Mrs Stewart, who fulfilled her life long dream of opening her own funeral directors last year, has also revealed the challenges the funeral industry has faced during the pandemic.
She said the restrictions have taken a toll on funeral directors, having also been on the other end of a bereavement last June where she and her family had to watch the funeral of her mum's partner via webcast.
She said: "The restrictions that Covid has brought has been terrible for the families as not only have they lost a loved one, they cannot plan the funeral they really want - no viewings if deceased has died of Covid, only 30 at funerals, no singing at services.
"For a time there were no limousines, no family allowed to carry the coffin - the list goes on.
"This virus has caused so much heartache for everyone but I’m very proud to have been able to help and support so many families that have been affected."
She said that she did not anticipate how quickly her business would evolve despite a difficult Christmas period where she considered "giving it all up" after a partnership did not work out.
But the Stoke Ferry business continues following support from its previous owner Colin Bond, Philip Bowers Funeral Director in Northwold, Mrs Stewart's friend Donella Large and her team of Malcolm Mycock, Bill Taylor, Chris Hall, Michael Calver, Chris Kot and Bob Stannard.