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Make cancer facilities available for locals



nhsCANCER can be one of the most devastating illnesses in the modern world. Writing as the husband of a wonderful young woman who was recently a victim of cancer, this freelancer knows first-hand the pain, destruction, anguish, loss, loneliness, helplessness and fears that cancer brings with it. As The Herald recently detailed, local charity Adam’s Bucketful of Hope is campaigning for a Cancer Day Unit to be installed in Withybush Hospital and thus provide local residents with nearby cancer facilities – a campaign The Herald itself is staunchly backing. Having had to face the battle against cancer head-on when my wife was diagnosed, I realise the importance of what they are campaigning for. Life with cancer is a life of appointments, time-frames and regimes; basically a life of routines – and having professional support and guidance in these kinds of scenarios is invaluable. And all aspects of the process come under this same umbrella of professional guidance and support; doctors, nurses, wards, beds, drugs, treatment facilities etc. these are all vital components in the fight against cancer. These days it is easy to have an apathetic attitude towards cancer and attribute it to being an illness that tends to only afflict the older generations in the twilight of their lives. My wife was 24 years young when she lost her battle. Cancer doesn’t care what age you are, where you come from, what your lifestyle is, it can affect anyone, at any time, of any age. Period. From rudimental experience I can honestly profess that were it not for the cancer services and facilities near to home whilst my wife was unwell, I seriously don’t think I could have coped. There is no manual, no ‘Idiot’s Guide’, no training seminars you can attend to make you an expert in dealing with this sort of thing. It’s different for everyone. It’s always different. But it is important to provide patients, as well as those on the periphery, with as much support as possible. Chemotherapy treatments, for example, can last a number of hours; blood tests must be run to check immune systems. Additionally there is any manner of drug concoctions that patients will need to be prescribed and as such they will require facilities close by. When my wife was ill we were fortunate that the hospital was pretty close (around a 20 drive). But eventually even this became a struggle as she was almost perpetually in a great deal of pain. For patients having to travel several hours from home to their nearest facilities this is untenable and can prove extremely traumatic. My wife at one point was taking between 9-15 tablets 4 times a day. These had to be done at specific timeframes, so sorting out meal times became a very regimental process. New drugs would need to be collected regularly, usually biweekly and a lot of the time we were reliant on the hospital to prescribe the right drugs, as we sometimes struggled to keep up with the number of different pills she required. There were further challenges as her illness wore on and she became less and less mobile. Moving around became cumbersome and stairs became a big problem. Eventually she had to use a wheelchair to get around, which provided more issues and yet more cost for her, myself and her family. Money was also a big worry – I wasn’t working whilst she was ill and eventually her mother decided to stop work as well to care for her daughter. I had a bit in savings and was supplementing this with sick pay from my job, but the well soon ran dry. Luckily the cancer unit assigned us a social worker who was responsible for sorting out grants for us, checks to cover transport costs and sorting my wife’s application for benefits (as she was unable to work) to save us the hassle of having to do it ourselves. It was difficult for those around her/us too – her parents and family were incredible and we would often takes turns comforting each other, updating each other on drug regime’s and appointment times and generally just being there for one another. Cancer can be an expensive illness, for patients, their families and for the health service. This is why facilities such as these are vital in the struggle – it is beneficial to everybody and helps with practical matters, such as money, that patients and their families don’t even consider until they become issues. But the health service sectors business is saving lives and without investing the necessary money in the fight against cancer the battle is going to be very one-sided. Facilities such as the ones proposed at Withybush Hospital are imperative to giving patients a fighting chance of survival, or at the very least helping to prolong their lives somewhat. My wife’s original survival prognosis was 4-5 months, due to the support and facilities she was given she fought for 11 months, and I will always be grateful that we had that extra time together. She deserved it. All patients do.

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Pembroke Dock: Two in hospital following Fort Road car accident



EMERGENCY SERVICES dealt with what has been described by a witness as a “horrific car accident” in the Pembroke Dock area on Wednesday night (Jun 12).

A 23-year-old woman, driving a black BMW, travelled down Fort Road at speed, hit a low wall, catapulting the vehicle some considerable distance across a picnic area. The vehicle ended up irreparably damaged on the beach – which was luckily not in use at the time – landing next to the old Cambridge Gun Tower.

No other vehicles seem to have been involved, police said.

The driver has been arrested but remains in hospital, one passenger is in a critical but stable condition, in Cardiff, and a second passenger sustained only minor injuries.

A spokesperson for Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 10.45pm on Wednesday night (Jun 23), to reports of a road traffic accident near the Fort Road car park in Pembroke Dock.

“We attended the scene with one rapid response vehicle, two emergency ambulances and our Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service.

“Two people were taken to University Hospital Wales, Cardiff for further treatment.”

The police are appealing in the media for information following the crash.

An official statement from the police reads as follows: “We were called to Fort Road, Pembroke Dock, at around 10.45pm on Wednesday night to reports of a single-vehicle collision. Ambulance and fire service also attended.

“A 19-year-old man was taken to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff and remains in a critical but stable condition.

“A second passenger attended hospital for minor injuries but has since been discharged. A 23-year-old woman was arrested, and currently remains in hospital.

“Anyone who witnessed the collision but who has not yet spoken to us should get in touch by emailing, visiting our website, or calling 101.

UPDATE: 24.06.2021, 15:47HRS

On Thursday (Jun 24) said that the female who was arrested was de-arrested because of the need for medical treatment, and is “no longer under arrest at this time.”

The police also added that their investigation was “still active”.

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Pembrokeshire call handler helps deliver Llanelli couple’s new baby



A 999 CALL HANDLER from Pembrokeshire has helped deliver a Llanelli couple’s baby.

Father-of-two Chris Bassett, from Hook, answered the call from the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen, and whose instructions on loudspeaker enabled the pair to deliver their 8lb 1oz new arrival safely.

Thanks to Chris, Troy Smith, 34, and partner Abigail Jones, 33, delivered baby Arabella Dilys Smith in the bedroom of their Llanelli home.

Troy said: “I’ve never felt adrenaline like it but I knew I had to focus on the situation for Abigail and the baby’s sake.

“It all happened so quickly, but Chris’ voice on the other end of the phone kept us calm.”

Abigail, a teacher at Ysgol Carreg Hir in Briton Ferry, went into labour at around 10.00pm on Thursday, June 3, and made a trip to hospital, where nurses confirmed she was in the early stages.

The couple returned to their Pwll home, but their soon-to-be daughter had other ideas.

Troy said: “At around 4.30am, Abigail developed a lot of pain and said she had an urge to push.

“I thought, ‘Right, this is happening’ and phoned an ambulance because I knew I’d be delivering the baby right there and then.”

It was Chris, a former RAF Aerospace Systems Operator, who picked up the call in the early hours of Friday, June 4.

The 29-year-old, who has been with the Welsh Ambulance Service for 18 months, said: “As soon as I answered the call, it was obvious that Troy and Abigail were in distress, as anyone would be in that situation.

“The priority was to get Abigail in a comfortable position to deliver the baby safely.

“For me, it was about giving them clear instructions while trying to keep them both calm.”

Troy added: “I just did what came naturally. When you’re in that situation, you just do it.

“As soon as Arabella came, I felt this wave of relief and I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous she was.

“Chris was so professional and handled the situation really well.

“He gave us all the information and kept us calm.”

Ambulance crews arrived soon after, and took Abigail to Carmarthen’s Glangwili General Hospital, where she was treated for shock before being discharged the following day.

Abigail said: “The whole thing was petrifying because I just never expected to be having the baby at home, but we’re so grateful to Chris for helping us to deliver Arabella safely.”

Chris added: “In your role as a 999 call handler, you’re helping people in their darkest hour, but I’m just glad this call had a happy ending.

“This is the third baby I’ve helped to deliver during my time at the ambulance service, but the first one I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.”

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Covid causes partial school closure at Haverfordwest High VC



A PARTIAL school closure is in force today at Haverfordwest High VC school after a pupil in year 9 has tested positive for coronavirus.

All students in year 9 must stay at home , isolate and await further instruction while the school completes all of the necessary Track and Trace processes.

In a statement released by the school, they said: “We have been informed that a Year 9 pupil has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We wish them a speedy recovery.

“As a precautionary measure and to enable us to complete all of the necessary Track and Trace processes, the school will be closed to Year 9 Pupils today.

“The school remains open to all other year groups.

“Until further notice, Year 9 students should stay at home and isolate until further instructions are given. Lessons for all other year groups will continue as usual. Unless your child is in Year 9 they should attend school.”

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