After four heart attacks and three bouts of cancer, Dundee pensioner Jim Kenneth has no doubt he is only alive today because of the NHS.
The 78-year-old says his life has been saved “umpteen times” and has nothing but praise for the consultants, doctors and nurses who have helped him through multiple health battles.
The Fintry man says they have regularly gone “above and beyond” the call of duty to care for him through four heart attacks, four hip replacements and now, in his fight against skin cancer.
And the grandfather is convinced he wouldn’t be here today had it not been for the skill of medics who treated him after he suffered a serious head injury in a fall at home.
Jim said: “I don’t remember very much about it, but it happened on Fathers Day.
“I went upstairs about 8pm and fell over. I can’t recall what happened but my wife, Kath, said she heard an almighty crash and came running up the stairs to find me flat out on the floor bleeding profusely from my head.”
Kath, 68, said: “There was blood soaking into the carpet.
“It looked awful.
“I didn’t know what to think but immediately phoned for an ambulance.”
Jim’s daughter, Angela, 52, said that initially her dad didn’t seem too bad.
However, by the next day his condition had deteriorated dramatically and he was given a brain scan.
Angela said: “They discovered that Dad had two bleeds on the brain.
“However, they couldn’t operate because he is on a blood thinner for his angina and it would be too dangerous.
“The doctors warned us that he was very seriously ill and that he might not make it.
“We had to confirm that we were still happy with the ‘do not resuscitate’ instruction that the family had in place for Dad from previous illnesses.
“For a week Dad’s life hung in the balance. It was very worrying as we didn’t know if he would survive.”
Angela said that eventually, after two weeks, the family were sure that Jim would make it.
She added: “However, he had to have physiotherapy and we even had to help feed him.
“He is now walking with a stick, but making progress.”
Jim said: “This was just the latest in a long line of incidents where the NHS has saved my life. I can’t praise them highly enough for what they have done for me this time, never mind previously.”
Jim said the first time the NHS came to his aid was at the age of five when he went into hospital for what turned out to be a four-year stay.
He said: “I had one leg shorter than the other, which had to be corrected.
“As part of my stay in Stracathro I spent one year covered head to foot in plaster. However, the treatment was successful.”
Then, in 1979 – when he was only 39 – Jim suffered the first of four heart attacks.
He said: “It was serious and ended up damaging 60% of my heart. I had another in 1986 followed by a third in 1997.
“I suffered another one when I was on the operating table having a hip replacement operation. On each of these occasions I believe the NHS helped to save me.”
And Jim’s help from local doctors and nurses hasn’t ended there either.
He said: “I have also received treatment for cancer.
“Once I had to have a growth removed from my head, I have had treatment for another one on my shoulder and am currently receiving treatment for skin cancer on my nose.
“These people are simply wonderful and I owe them so much.”