"My husband suffered an aortic dissection."

About: Ayr Hospital / Accident & Emergency Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Cardiology & Coronary Care Unit Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / High Dependency Unit & Intensive Care Unit Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Vascular Surgery

(as a service user),

In April this year husband woke in the early hours with several pain. We called for an ambulance and the paramedics arrived promptly. They suspected a heart attack but a few ECGs ruled that out. They took us by ambulance to Ayr hospital A&E. Various tests were run on my husband but nothing seemed to come back conclusive. We were then very fortunate when a Dr Al-Janabi became involved with our case.  He noticed something on my husband's chest x ray which caused him concern and he arranged for an urgent CT scan. This scan confirmed his suspicion that it was actually an aortic dissection.  Aortic dissections can often be fatal particularly when they go undiagnosed for a significant period of time. We could never thank Dr Al-Janabi enough for his help on that morning.  He most definitely saved my husband's life and was very comforting in the way he dealt with us. He arranged for Paul to be transferred via blue light to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary which is where the vascular experts are who deal with type B dissections. 

Paul then spent a total of 28 nights in Edinburgh Royal infirmary.  Most of this was spent in ICU/HDU followed by some days on a vascular ward. While he was in he suffered many complications including renal failure, respiratory failure, acute kidney injury,  hospital acquired pneumonia and delirium. He was looked after so well by all staff in the hospital and we will be eternally grateful to all of the staff that we met while we were there. I couldn't single staff out as there are simply too many to remember but would like to thank them all from the bottom of my heart.  Not only did they look after my husband and nurse him back to health,  they also provided me with a huge amount of emotional support. I was able to stay for 4 nights in intensive care when things got really bad and on one occasion they also even helped me bring my two young children in to ICU to visit their dad and helped me sit with them to explain what was happening and what the possible outcomes may be. Not an experience I ever imagined I would have with my children but I was incredibly grateful to the staff for their support and understanding.  

We have been so well looked after by the NHS over the past 8 weeks. All staff in Edinburgh and Ayr were fantastic. We will never ever forget Dr Al-Janabi as he most definitely is the main reason my husband is still alive today. 

Thank you to everyone who works tirelessly. How lucky we are to have these people working with the NHS.  


Response from Michelle Jack, Clinical Nurse Manager, High Dependency Unit and Intensive Care Unit, NHS Lothian

Thank you so much for this lovely feedback. We really appreciate it.

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Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear Jilldag,

You and your family have 'fairly been put through the wringer'; but it is so lovely to hear that your husband's life was saved.

It must have been a really difficult time for lots of reasons, not least the practicalities of the Edinburgh trips. Travel from Ayrshire on public transport would be no small feat to the Royal which is so far out of town,

I will be delighted to make sure the team at Ayr and Dr Al-Janabi see this lovely accolade to both hospitals; I am sure it will make their day.

All the best for your husband's onward recovery.

Take care,


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Response from Jeannette Morrison, Head of Patient Experience, NHS Lothian

Dear Jilldag

Thank you very much for sharing what has been an incredibly difficult for everyone during your husband's illness at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Like Michelle, we are very appreciative when people take the time to feedback to us, especially when patients have been so unwell.

Now that your husband is back at home, I do hope he is recovering well from his 28 days in hospital and that you are settling back into family life.

I have shared your lovely feedback with the ITU / HDU and vascular staff, who I am sure like me will wish your husband well on his continued recovery.

With best wishes


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