Husband says hospital must stay

A FELIXSTOWE husband today told health chiefs to leave Felixstowe's hospital alone – after equipment at the unit saved his wife's life.Julie Lowery, 42, was frantic with worry when she started suffering pains in her throat and had difficulty breathing.

A FELIXSTOWE husband today told health chiefs to leave Felixstowe's hospital alone – after equipment at the unit saved his wife's life.

Julie Lowery, 42, was frantic with worry when she started suffering pains in her throat and had difficulty breathing.

But thanks to specialist equipment at Felixstowe General Hospital, her GP Dr Stephen Feltwell was able to diagnose an abscess in her windpipe and have her rushed to hospital for an operation.

Mrs Lowery's husband John is convinced that without the equipment, the diagnosis may have had to wait and his wife could have died.


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Mr Lowery, 56, of Oak Close, Felixstowe, said: "It was almost desperate and very frightening.

"Dr Feltwell was superb – he said at once that he did not have the equipment at the surgery and we had to go straight to the hospital.

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"He used a series of angled mirrors and other paraphernalia and was able to say it was definitely an abscess in her windpipe which was preventing her breathing.

"In the end we could not wait for an ambulance and I took my wife, but I had to take her to Colchester Hospital because it was a weekend and the ear, nose and throat department at Ipswich was not open.

"However, when we got to Colchester they were ready and waiting for us with all the equipment and Julie was rushed straight through.

"It was a life-threatening situation and without the General and its equipment my wife could have died.

"Felixstowe General is critical and crucial to the community and we cannot afford to lose it."

Mr Lowery, who is senior watchkeeper with Felixstowe Coastwatch, said he believed getting rid of the hospital would not save money in the long run.

He added: "Surely, it will be just adding costs to other areas of the health service – more money spent on hospital transport services for people who could easily have got to Felixstowe General for a clinic but cannot drive to Ipswich.

"The same people will still have to be treated so it will still cost just as much.

"Felixstowe is a growing town with a growing number of elderly people who need treatment and use the services – we just cannot do without a hospital."

Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust needs to cut its millions of pounds of debt but stresses that no decisions have yet been made about closures.

So far it has agreed to halve the number of beds in the Bartlet rehabilitation and convalescent unit, and is working on an analysis of the four NHS buildings in the town to draw up options for their future.

n What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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