Ambulance company brings family together
Debbie Butler’s mother, Sue, was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in January 2019.
According to Cancer Research UK, there are around 9,100 new oesophageal cancer cases diagnosed each year, and 7,900 deaths. While the charity predicts that mortality rates are projected to fall by 16% by 2035, the reality now is that oesophageal cancer is the 7th most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
Debbie was already working with TASL as an Ambulance Care Assistant, and with the help of the company, transferred to their Louth base at short notice so she could be closer to her parents. When her mother went for surgery on the 3rd of June to have the tumour removed, things took a turn for the worse. Sue was confined to the hospital for an additional eight weeks after contracting sepsis and a collapsed lung, which then led to two minor heart attacks. Debbie and the family feared they were about to lose Sue.
“I was granted compassionate leave when my mum was fighting for her life,” says Debbie.
Thankfully, Sue made a remarkable recovery. The hospital discharged her on the 30th of August – and TASL made sure that Debbie was the one who could take her home.
“She was my last patient [on my shift], it was an emotional journey for both of us, but I was thrilled,” said Debbie, “I love my job, purely because of the patients and being able to be a part of their journey. This job has its sad moments, but it’s our job to make good memories. I played all my mum’s favourite music on her way home as I do for a lot of patients – I take requests to make it less of a traumatic journey.”
“During my mum’s period in critical care, she suffered panic attacks, anxiety and delirium. She is so grateful that I could keep her updated with my movements and then take her home. TASL made it possible for me to end a very anxious time on a positive note. I can’t thank TASL and my manager, Tom Bussey, enough for making this journey happen for us.”
“It’s little things in life that can make a significant difference,” says Derek Laird, TASL CEO. “It’s heart-warming to see that we could help Debbie create such an amazing memory for her family.”
Notes to editors:
For further information about this article or other information from TASL, please contact Laura Renfrew:
Thames Ambulance Service Limited (TASL) is a professional service providing high quality, individually tailored care to patients 24/7, 365 days of the year. Our Patient Transport Service (PTS) offers healthcare professionals a range of transport solutions to assist with the transfer of their patients utilising a variety of vehicles designed to meet the different needs of patients. We are a private company who are commissioned by the NHS to provide a value for money, high-quality service.