Gemma Barrington

Last June we lost a dear friend and colleague to pneumonia. Andrea Smale was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in March 2018 and despite showing no signs of being ill until this point, was unfortunately admitted to the intensive care unit at the Royal Surrey County Hospital at the end of May.

The Hospital and the team in ICU could not have been more reactive to her critical condition. Andrea was put into an induced coma in an isolation room where a member of the ICU were with her 24 hours a day. They kept the family regularly updated and answered every question from every person with empathy and patience. Her family and friends camped out in the family room for as many hours that were possible, sitting in hope for the next update from the consultant. The team allowed the isolation room to be filled with photos of her children, grandchildren and happy memories. When the last day came, the team were accommodating in letting Andrea’s favourite music be played in the isolation room whilst her friends and family sat with her.

Andrea sadly passed away on 13th June 2018. So many people have stories where the care they received can make an already awful situation worse. Thankfully we can say that the team at the Royal Surrey County Hospital made this horrible and sad time no worse and were reassured that they had Andrea’s best interests at heart and showed complete understanding for how her nearest and dearest were feeling.

The ICU would love to have a quiet room to be able to discuss those all-important updates with family in a separate room. So often the family room has more than one family in it, so the conversations end up happening in a corridor, or outside of a patient's room. Having a quiet room would allow family the time to digest the information in peace and only add more compassion to what you feel when you visit this Hospital.

Gemma Barrington