Local photographer Jools Hart recently donated a collection of some of his finest landscape pictures to Epsom Hospital, following lifesaving treatment after he suffered a massive pulmonary embolism (a blocked blood vessel in the lungs that can be fatal if not treated promptly).
Jools, who was just 47 years old, was at home in West Ewell when he began to feel unwell. Speaking about his experience, Jools said: “It was New Year’s Eve, and I decided to stay home. My sons Ben, who’s 20 and Charlie, who’s 15, at the time were both heading out to celebrate. I started to feel unwell but didn’t think much of it. I awoke on New Year’s morning feeling better but on getting up I became very unwell to the point of collapsing on the bathroom floor, barely able to breathe.
“Despite their plans to stay out for the night, both of my sons decided to come home early, even though they had no idea I was unwell – this was a decision which would later save my life. Charlie awoke to find me collapsed in the bathroom and called upon his elder brother to assist in sitting me up on the toilet to assist my breathing whilst an ambulance was called. By the time the paramedics arrived, I could feel that I was very close to death – they all did an amazing job and definitely saved my life that day by acting so quickly.”
After being stabilised by paramedics, Jools was immediately rushed to Epsom Hospital’s Resuscitation Unit in A&E. Following his treatment there, he was taken for scans, where he was found to have a large number of clots in his body, including a large one across his chest, which is particularly dangerous. He was then immediately rushed to the Coronary Care Unit to undergo emergency treatment to clear the clots and bring him back to a stable condition.
Jools said: “I am so thankful to all of those who looked after me during this very tough time in my life. Without the efforts of both my sons and the medical professionals at Epsom, there is a very big chance that I would not be here today. It has been a long journey of recovery for me, but I have continued to push through and I am now back to work as a professional photographer and have passed my first qualification with the Master Photography Association”.
Sister Mary Gray, who cared for Jools whilst he was receiving treatment at the Cardiac Unit in Epsom, said: “I am so happy to hear that Jools has recovered and is back to work, but we do need to remember that his episode could have been fatal. If you experience chest pains, faintness of breath, light headedness and/or tingling sensations in you left arm, please dial 999 as soon as possible. Cardiac episodes like these can be very serious, so action must be taken if you suspect there is a problem. While waiting for an ambulance, it may help to chew and then swallow a tablet of aspirin (ideally 300mg) – as long as the person having a heart attack isn't allergic to aspirin.”
Director of Communications and Patient Experience, Lisa Thomson, said: “As a way of giving something back to those who cared for him, Jools very kindly donated some beautiful landscape photographs to the hospital’s cardiac teams. Adding in some colour to our units and giving our patients and staff something nice to look at whilst they spend time in our department. This is a very kind gesture for Jools to make and shows our staff how much they are appreciated for the fantastic work that they do.”
Jools’ pictures are currently for sale on his website, with 10% of the proceeds going to the Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity (just mention that your saw his pictures at Epsom and St Helier). To contact Jools, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on: 07808732496. You can also visit his website at: www.joolshartphotography.co.uk.