Case Studies

Michael’s story

Michael and Joanne

Michael and Joanne Palmer had only been married for two months when Michael was rushed into James Cook with severe sepsis in 2014.

It was a traumatic time as Joanne was warned that Michael might not survive, but after two weeks in a coma on the intensive care unit he pulled through.

“It is very scary because you wake up and you don’t know where you are,” said Michael, 48, of Acklam. “Two years later I still have nightmares and flashbacks.

“But the ICU Steps group has been a great help – they are a lifeline. People talk about their experiences and you realise that you are not the only one going through it.

“Without the group I do not know what we would all do. I don’t think I would have survived emotionally without them.

“I have a different outlook on life now – I just live for today!”

Tony’s story

Tony and Diane

Back in 2011 Tony Bousfield was rushed into James Cook and diagnosed with two brain abscesses and a build-up of fluid on the brain.

Tony 57, of Darlington, spent a challenging three months in intensive care and neurosurgical high dependency.

He faced multiple operations, medical complications and a further two months in hospital before he could progress to a long period of rehabilitation and was left with visual cognitive and physical disabilities and no recollection of his time in hospital.

“Your life changes so dramatically,” said his wife Diane. “Tony now has challenging epileptic seizures and I’ve become a full time carer, but I’m just pleased that he’s still here!

“People often come out of life threatening critical illness as somebody different and I think as a group we can support each other through that.

“We came to the ICU Steps group because we wanted to give something back for the care he received.

“It’s amazing how much you have in common with the other families.”

Tony added: “Everyone has a lot of empathy and understanding because they have been through it themselves.”

Diane added: “We will both always be eternally grateful for the dedication and skill of all the clinical team at the James Cook involved in Tony’s care who made his fight for survival possible and for the continuing support we receive from the intensive care team through our support group – thank you all!”

Diane has written a book of poems about her experiences – click here to view the book!