AMBULANCE workers whose quick-thinking actions saved the life of a pensioner living with dementia and Parkinson’s just hours before Christmas have been praised by his wife.
Michael Rae, 78, of Staincross, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease - a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over a number of years - around eight years ago.
He was then subsequently diagnosed with dementia which prompted his wife, 83-year-old Gina, to become his carer alongside Barnsley Hospital’s assistive technology team.
Having had an almost week-long stay in hospital the week before Christmas, Michael was sent home by staff on December 20 - a decision Gina says she thought was a ‘disaster’.
He was taken to his home on Eastfield Crescent in a hospital bed and Gina began to care for him, before nurses put him to bed at around 8.30pm.
What happened next shocked her to her core.
“My husband had been in hospital up until the Tuesday before Christmas and at that point he was sent home,” she said.
“I thought that was a disaster.
“He was in a separate room to me at home and I usually take the key out of the patio doors at night as he has Parkinson’s and dementia - but because there was so much going on I had forgotten to do so.
“The carers then put him to bed at around 8.30am and I went to bed after that.
“I woke up at 1am to go to the toilet and checked the room and he was asleep.
“I then woke up again at 5am and thought to myself that the house was cold.
“I went through to him and the patio doors were open and he was there face-down on the bricks.”
She quickly rushed over to Michael and pressed the buzzer on his hand, alerting the hospital’s assistive technology team who came to his aid in a matter of minutes.
“He wasn’t breathing properly and he was frozen,” she added.
“I put his bedding over him to keep him warm.
“He was badly bleeding and so I pressed the buzzer on his hand and the assistive technology team were here within five minutes.
“They had already rang the ambulance and their workers came within five minutes.
“He was taken straight to Barnsley Hospital and then to the resuscitation ward and worked on him until 11.30am.”
Gina now wants to thank the hospital team, ambulance workers and A and E for saving her husband’s live and ensuring he was able to spend Christmas at home.
“I can’t thank them enough,” she added.
“I’m an ex-nurse and sister myself so I just wanted to show my appreciation to them.
“It was heartbreaking and I was hysterical - but I still managed to get my Christmas with him.”