How a Deepdale grandad's life was saved by specialist heart pumps at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

George Thompson is living proof that miracles do happen.

George and Jean Thompson
George and Jean Thompson

George Thompson is living proof that miracles do happen.

Just five months ago a devastated George, from Deepdale, sat with his wife Jean in the hospital cafe at Blackpool Victoria Hospital composing a tragic farewell message to his beloved family and friends.

After years of debilitating lung problems, George’s heart was failing and he was rushed into hospital, but was not fit enough to undergo a life-saving heart bypass.

Dr Andrew Wiper and Dr Billal Patel with the heart pump at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

His condition was so poor he was told he would not withstand a general anaesthetic.

Two of his arteries were totally blocked and his heart was functioning at about 20 per cent.

He only had one functioning lung and he doubted he would see Christmas.

The 67-year-old father-of-one says: “I thought I was going to die.

“Jean and I compiled a text to our family to say there was nothing the medics could do for me and I was being discharged on medication.

“My heart was not strong enough to survive a heart by-pass.

“Our son, Leighton, and his partner, Louise, had just had their beautiful baby, Georgina, and all I could do when I saw her was cry.

“I thought that just as Georgina had come into the world I was going to go out.

“My lungs were shot, my heart was shot, there was no hope for me.”

But then a miracle happened.

The hospital’s charity, Blue Skies Hospitals Fund, had just funded nine single-use Impella Heart Pumps which can keep the blood flowing in the heart while stents are being inserted.

This device meant the operation could go ahead without general anaesthetic.

For a few patients like George, it can mean the difference between life and death.

The day after George and Jean compiled their heart breaking message, Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Billal Patel, went to see him on the ward to tell him that the Lancashire Cardiac Centre had just received the Impella pumps which could allow a medical team to insert the stents needed open up George’s arteries.

George says: “I had been so depressed it was hard to process the information Dr Patel had given me.

“Having thought I had no hope of a future, this was the news I wanted.”

Jean said she just cried when she heard the news that the team were to operate within two days.

She adds: “George had been in the right place at the right time.

“Had his heart started to fail earlier, before the pumps had been purchased by Blue Skies, he would not have had a future.”

George, who also has emphysema, underwent a five-hour operation to have nine stents fitted and now, five months on, his heart is fully recovered.

George jokes: “Dr Patel and his colleague, Dr Andrew Wiper, along with the cardiac team, gave me my life back and now I am filled with optimism and hope for my future.

“I think nine stents was a record for Dr Patel and I am not sure if it has been done in this country before.

“I was discharged the day after the operation and have now completely recovered. With the expertise of the medics at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, and these heart pumps, people with heart and lung conditions do not have to go through the worry that nothing can be done.

“I will be forever grateful to the medical team at Blackpool and Blue Skies charity who gave me my life back.”

Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Wiper adds: “Mr Thompson had a very poor prognosis if his coronary disease was left untreated.

“Through the use of the Impella heart pump and the expertise of the Lancashire Cardiac Centre, he now has a very bright future.”