A TV weatherman who fought for his life at Queen’s Hospital Burton has returned to thank some of the heroes that helped save him.
Hospital staff worked round-the-clock to keep Des Coleman alive in November 2018 after he suffered a major bleed in his bowel that saw him lose around four litres of blood in just one night.
The ITV Central weatherman was then transferred to theatres, where, to his surprise, Consultant Surgeon Mr Najam Husain discovered the cause of the bleeding – a gastrointestinal stromal tumour in Des’ small bowel.
Mr Husain said: “We had no idea where the bleed was coming from as nothing had been picked up in the CT scan. As a surgeon, it’s a nightmare trying to find the source of bleeding in the small bowel but he had bled so much that I had to make a critical decision and chose to operate. Nothing had shown in the scans, so it was such a surprise to discover the tumour, which was causing the problems. It was a real emotional rollercoaster for him and his family, as he wouldn’t still be alive if we hadn’t managed to stop the bleeding. Because of his blood loss, a lot could’ve gone wrong but we’re all so happy and it fills me with a lot of joy to see him doing so well.”
Des was first taken to Queen’s Hospital Burton’s A&E with abdominal pain on 17 November but a major bleed the following day saw staff at the hospital’s Acute Assessment Centre (AAC) have to give him 13 blood transfusions in one night to keep him alive.
He said: “I’ve got to admit, it’s been a bit of a shock coming back and seeing everyone again. It’s really hard to describe the feeling I’ve got actually. I know just how ill I was and so I’ve got so much to be grateful for. I can’t give blood anymore because I’ve had an operation but I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all of the people that give blood every day. I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for the fantastic team at this hospital either, so I just want thank everyone so much for helping me.”
Des lost around four litres of blood throughout the night on 18 November, with AAC Sister Stacey Kennerley staying by his side throughout to ensure he was okay.
She said: “It was one of the most challenging nights of my career but it makes it all worthwhile to see him better. We couldn’t work out where he was bleeding from and couldn’t stop it. We really were worried that he wasn’t going to survive the night but are all so happy that he’s okay. In this unit, we don’t get to see the end of a patient’s journey, only the start, so it really is overwhelming to see him.”
Following his surgery, Des spent the next two weeks recovering in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the High Dependency Unit (HDU) and on Ward 15, before then being discharged home on 2 December.
HDU Sister Natalie Sharratt said: “It’s really nice to see Des looking so well and for him to have taken the time to come back and help showcase the NHS in a positive light. This was a fantastic example of the NHS working like it should, with so many staff from different departments playing a key role in helping him get better. I’m extremely proud to have played some part in that and to be able to work alongside all of these amazing people.”