An intu Metrocentre employee has delivered life changing equipment to the hospital that has supported her since birth and saved her life last summer.
Alex Workman, 32, environmental services co-ordinator at intu Metrocentre, visited the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital along with her manager Dave Dixon to present the unit with two state of the art SATS monitors from intu Metrocentre while the Metrognomes did a special meet and greet with children on the ward.
The heart units of the Freeman Hospital are familiar surroundings to Alex, who was born with a congenital heart defect and had to have open heart surgery at just 9 months old. Alex grew up in Ryton, just 20 minutes from the Freeman Hospital and has always been under their care – from yearly check ups with the Children’s Heart Unit to then attending their adult clinics.
At the end of 2016 Alex had a pacemaker fitted, but in 2017 she suffered a cardiac arrest while at work. Until the ambulance arrived Alex was looked after by her work colleagues at intu Metrocentre, who have first aid training, with fellow colleagues Andy Tolson and Dave Dixon using the on-site defibrillator to restart Alex’s heart.
Alex spent the following 11 weeks at The Freeman Hospital, both in ICU and the adult ward next to the Children’s Heart Unit, working closely with staff on ward 24 and Paul and Alice from the physio department who helped Alex to learn to walk again after her stroke.
Alex is still being monitored by the hospital but has made a wonderful recovery and is already back at work. Her colleague Andy Tolson has also been nominated for an internal intu award – an employee recognition scheme where the national winner receives a gift of their choice.
Since Alex’s cardiac arrest her colleagues at intu Metrocentre have been keen to show their appreciation to the Freeman Hospital for their dedication and the life-changing work they do.
The portable SATS monitors donated by intu Metrocentre will be used to monitor oxygen levels for children, allowing them leave hospital earlier and continue their recovery in the comfort of their own home.
Staff at intu have also raised funds for the ACHD (Adults with Congenital Heart Disease) team by hosting a raffle and a bake sale.
Alex Workman, environmental services co-ordinator at intu Metrocentre, said:
“I’m so grateful to the team at the Freeman Hospital for all of their hard work and support, both over the years and during my stay in hospital. I’m lucky to have been born near a hospital that is truly at the forefront of children’s cardiac care, and I feel fortunate to have had my cardiac arrest while I was surrounded by people who were trained in First Aid and could use a defibrillator.
“I never felt like a sickly child when I was growing up – my mum always made sure that I was straight back to school after going for my check ups. Hopefully the SATS monitors that we’ve provided will give children a similar feeling of normalcy and independence – and encourage them to live life to the full.”
Charlotte Campbell, Senior Fundraising Manager for CHUF, added:
“We are incredibly grateful to all at intu Metrocentre for the support they have given to CHUF. We are thrilled to have been able to purchase two additional SATS monitors for use by our Heart Heroes and with the help of intu Metrocentre the equipment will enable more people to achieve their dreams.”
Gavin Prior, regional centre director of intu Metrocentre, commented:
“We’re extremely proud of how Dave and Andy handled the situation and so pleased that Alex has made a full recovery and was able to be our ambassador to deliver the life-changing equipment to the Freeman Hospital.
“All of our staff at intu Metrocentre have been trained to react in a calm and cool-headed manner in an emergency but it’s rewarding seeing the training being put into practice in such an important way.”