In Safe Hands

A willingness to listen and consistent professionalism makes Fylde Coast Hospital the perfect choice for this patient, writes Kate Ford. Photography: Paul Melling

Many people feel nervous about going into hospital. However, if anxiety levels are so high that they prevent someone from having the treatment they require, then those concerns need to be addressed.

That’s how it was for Don Dewin, an otherwise fit and healthy 72-year old, who needed a knee replacement on his left leg. A keen golfer, skier, cyclist and gardener, Don had been putting off the inevitable.

“Yes, it was painful, but I could still make it round the golf course,” he explains. “Then we went skiing in January and I could only manage one day on the slopes. I knew then I had to face my fears and do something about it, before it prevented me doing other things I enjoyed.”

Being so anxious about anything to do with hospitals and surgical procedures, Don thought carefully about how to proceed. He gradually realised he’d feel less nervous if he could take some control and make his own choices.

One of those choices was which surgeon would perform the operation. After considerable research and talking to friends, he knew he wanted the Spire Fylde Coast Hospital Consultant, Paul Dunkow.

The first consultation Don had with Paul set the tone for his whole hospital experience. “He explained clearly the options available and all the possible outcomes, with honesty and a great sense of humour. He gave me the confidence to go ahead.”

Don was also shown around the hospital on that visit and was immediately impressed by the facilities, individual rooms and friendly professionalism of staff.

The day before admission, Don visited the hospital to provide a blood sample. When asked by the phlebotomist how he was feeling about the operation, his anxieties once again came tumbling out.

“But they weren’t ignored,” he explained. “The assessment sister, Janet Tippett, came to find out what was worrying me. She took the time to listen, then explained exactly what was going to happen, with genuine warmth and concern. I just knew I was in safe hands.”

Such was the upturn in Don’s confidence, that he was persuaded by the anaesthetist to opt for an epidural rather than a general anaesthetic. “Anyone who knows me will know that, for me to go through an operation whilst awake, however groggy, is a miracle!” he laughs.

Following the operation, Don was up and about the next day, with the aid of the physiotherapy team, and able to go home after three days. Two weeks on, he’s a picture of health and should be back on the golf course within 12 weeks.

Don didn’t have medical insurance, so he paid for the procedure himself, and he and wife Mareea are in full agreement that it was money well spent. “It’s an investment in the quality of life, which is really important,” says Don.

Spire Fylde Coast Hospital
St. Walburgas Road
Blackpool FY3 8BP
01253 308031



Tedd Walmsley

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