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Southend Hospital Heroes Patients’ Choice 2017: Who wins? You decide

22 August 2017

Health Care

The annual awards evening for Southend Hospital Heroes takes place on Friday 22 September, as part of the evening there is the always hotly contested Patients’ Choice award.

It is a very special award as it is both nominated by patients and voted on by them and the great Essex public. Voting for it is taking place here on the Southend Hospital website, across our Facebook and Twitter pages and through the Echo newspaper and its website.

Last year there were over 7,000 votes and, as ever, it is a fantastically difficult category to call and features three shortlisted nominees who would all make deserving winners on the evening. They can only win with your vote though.

You can make your vote here  and voting closes at midnight on Sunday 10 September, with the winner announced at the awards evening.

But, before you decide who gets your vote here are the Patients' Choice finalists for 2017…

Lesley Eldridge, Louise Leech and the Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) team

NR 68a (2017)

Lesley and Louise, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Sister, respectively, have been working in the Early Pregnancy Unit for the last 10 and two years.

Thrilled at their nomination, they said: "It was a great surprise to find that we had been nominated for this award. It can be sad job sometimes but it is a great honour to help our couples through this emotional and distressing time.

"We have telephone triages and one to one consultations with 350 women suffering from pregnancy loss and complications in early pregnancy and over the last 12 months have received over 10,000 phonecalls. The unit, also known as the Phillip Hagan Early Pregnancy Unit, was named after its former lead consultant, who sadly passed away. We continue to strive to build on the legacy that he helped start."

Lesley received two nominations for this award, one for her quick thinking at home and one for the work she and her team do at Southend.  One of her patients - who is also coincidentally her neighbour - collapsed at home with a suspected ectopic pregnancy:

"Lesley had already been monitoring me on the EPU but when I collapsed at home, my husband called her as well as an ambulance.

"Knowing my history, Lesley rang ahead to the hospital, arranging staff and blood transfusions ready for when I arrived by ambulance.  Since my surgery she has helped me every step of the way through a truly horrendous time for our family. Lesley has gone above what her job entails, she really is my hero."

Lesley and Louise also received a nomination from a patient who has sadly suffered two devastating miscarriages within six months:

"From the moment we were told that our babies were not viable we were supported 100%.  Lesley and Louise are extremely committed, professional, caring and empathetic.  They ensured my husband and I had every available resource to hand, they were at the end of the phone to give me reassurance and advice.

"They also allowed me to scream, shout and cry on their shoulder.  Working on EPU must be extremely hard but they don't just tick boxes and hand out leaflets - they care, they listen, they are truly amazing and deserve recognition."

Vote here

Mr Panagiotis Dimopoulos, Consultant Urological Surgeon

NR 68b (2017)

Mr Dimopoulos received a very touching nomination from a patient who says he owes his life to him.

Of his shortlisting for the award, Mr Dimopoulos said: "I was on holiday when I heard, but it was really good news. It means an awful lot the nomination coming from a patient as it is a positive reflection of the care we have given our patients. I don't see this as just an award about me, it is about the whole team making these things happen."

In his own words, the nominator is 'used to being ill' having suffered from lupus since he was 14.  Now aged 40, he says nothing could have prepared him for the devastating news that he had aggressive bladder cancer. This nominator felt lucky to have the most amazing wife to support him as well as the most amazing doctor in Mr Dimopoulos.

The nominator had to have his bladder and prostate removed and chemotherapy wasn't even an option due because of the lupus. Surgery, although difficult due to his sticky blood, was successful. The next few weeks were touch and go and it was during this time that our nominator thinks Mr Dimopoulos showed his outstanding caring.

"I popped internal stitches which caused a hernia, suffered a lot of pain and even got sepsis, but Mr Dimopoulos got me through it all. He had a way of calming me down - sharing jokes, talking about the pub, Greek holidays - it all just instantly made me feel better."

"I know it's his 'job' but Mr Dimopoulos needs recognition. I'm still under his care and he continues to give me the best care 18 months on. Encouraging, respectful, caring to my family - I truly know without him, I would not be here today writing this."

Vote here 

Emma Matthews, Dr Dora Amran and the Cardiac and Medical Day Stay (CMDS) team

NR 68c (2017)

Emma is the Ward Manager for CMDS, and Dr Amran is a Respiratory Consultant on the ward. Regarding their nomination they said: "We are honoured and privileged to have been nominated by one of our patients. We are also especially proud of our services for cancer patients because the work that we do stops patients having to stay in hospital beds during their last weeks and months of their lives. It enables them to go on holiday with their family, spend time at home and makes a massive difference to their quality of life."

The CMDS team received a special nomination from a husband who was so touched by the care and compassion his wife received from the team, he felt compelled to submit a nomination.

CMDS is often a place where a number of women with metastatic breast cancer of various stages start or end their journey as the cancer causes fluid to gather either around the lungs or in some instances the heart.

This nominator said: "My wife is one such patient who is fighting this disease and a number of times she has been dealt with by the consultants, nurses and HCAs on the unit - they are all literally life savers!

"My wife and I attend CMDS frequently and I often notice other women with cancer who attend on their own. Never have I seen such compassion and helpfulness on a ward from all staff whoever enters their department. They give patients dignity and respect, and most importantly, a smile - which goes a long way in their recuperation.

"All the staff are wonderful - even when my wife is on other ward in the hospital and issues occur with the IPC lung drains, I can always run down to CMDS and they are always willing to help above and beyond their normal duties.

The CMDS team really do make a difference and during my weekly visit to Southend Hospital for my wife's treatment, we meet other cancer patients with the same symptoms and they are always positive about the team.  They are a credit to you and the hospital and they deserve some recognition."

Vote here