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Surrey Doctor Forced To Choose Between Son Battling Cancer Or Working On NHS Frontline

by : Lucy Connolly on : 24 Mar 2020 12:25
Surrey Doctor Forced To Choose Between Son Battling Cancer Or Working On NHS FrontlineSurrey Doctor Forced To Choose Between Son Battling Cancer Or Working On NHS FrontlineNick Dennison/Facebook/Pixabay

A doctor has been forced to make the heartbreaking decision between saving the lives of strangers and looking after his three-year-old son, who is battling cancer and who is at high risk from contracting COVID-19.

Nick Dennison, who works at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, is this week being re-roled from his usual job a consultant anaesthetist to work as an intensive care doctor along with the rest of his team in a bid to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

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Doing so means he will be exposed to coronavirus on a daily basis, and so rather than risk making his son Alfie ill, Nick has chosen to live in a motor home for the next six months while he works on the NHS frontline.

extra nhs resources coronavirusextra nhs resources coronavirusPA Images

In an emotional Facebook post, Nick revealed how Alfie – who turned three just last week – is six weeks into a three-year chemotherapy program for lymphoma.

Those with lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, are classed as ‘extremely vulnerable’ as they are at risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus. ‘This virus is a big threat to his life and as I am going to be exposed this week doing my job, I can no longer live at home,’ Nick said.

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The doctor went on to explain that he would be moving into a motor home, away from his son and the rest of his family, and ‘will not be able to take any further part in his care for the next 6 months’.

doctor makes heartbreaking decision to leave his homedoctor makes heartbreaking decision to leave his homeNick Dennison/Facebook

He continued:

I have had to make the difficult choice: to do my job and save lives of people I don’t know, or to be with my son whilst he battles cancer. Alfie hopefully will survive his cancer and chemo, but many people will die from flu.

My heart is broken making this decision, but I choose to save the lives of strangers and leave him in the care of my beautiful wife and family.

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Over the weekend, the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust reported the deaths of five further patients who had tested positive for COVID-19, with Nick saying the intensive care unit at his hospital was already full, with 12 people on ventilators and ‘more requiring ventilation every day’.

The doctor said that, while usually his hospital has between four and 10 patients on ventilators at any one time, it is ‘planning and EXPECTING 80 patients to require ventilation’.

Frimley Park HospitalFrimley Park HospitalPA Images

His post finished with a plea to the public to do their bit to socially isolate themselves in order to slow the spread of coronavirus and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed with the number of cases in the coming weeks.

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He wrote:

It seems the public health message is not getting through. Let me be clear. A lot of people are going to die. They will mainly be 70 years plus but be in no doubt, 30-40 year olds will die too.

Pubs have been busy, offices open, social events happening, kids parties etc. It all needs to stop. Infected people shed virus and it must be everywhere by now. It is your social responsibility to engage in social distancing. Actions NOW can prevent further disease transmission, ICU admissions and deaths in 10-20 days.

This virus has been transmitted around the globe unchecked and will not stop until it has no where to go – social distancing/isolation or patient death. Bottom line. SOCIALLY ISOLATE or people die in two weeks.

coronaviruscoronavirusPA Images

The doctor’s warning comes as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a country-wide lockdown last night, March 23, telling the public: ‘You must stay at home.’

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For at least three weeks, people will only be allowed outside to buy food or medication, exercise alone once a day, or to travel to work if absolutely necessary. According to the latest figures, there have been 6,650 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK and 335 reported deaths.

It’s never been more important to listen to the experts and stay inside. Our thoughts are with all those affected by coronavirus and the families of those who have lost their lives.

It’s okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization on coronavirus, click here.

Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Health, Cancer, Coronavirus, COVID-19, doctors, NHS, Pandemic, UK

Credits

Nick Dennison/Facebook and 1 other
  1. Nick Dennison/Facebook

    nick.dennison.92

  2. Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

    Covid-19 update Sunday 22 March