‘Thank you for saving my daddy’ are the heart felt words of the four year old son of a man who survived his heart stopping 28 times at University Hospital in Coventry.
Dad-of-three Steven Nixon is the first known multiple trauma victim to undergo a heart procedure that led to the discovery of a tear in a major heart artery after he was seriously injured in a motor bike accident.
On August 23, 2009, when air ambulance crews arrived at University Hospital in Coventry, Steven was so unstable that the trauma team who were waiting for him could not treat his injuries because his heart kept stopping.
Dr. Dawn Adamson, Consultant Cardiologist suggested the unusual step of taking photographs of Steven’s heart to pinpoint where the problem was in an emergency procedure normally used for heart attack patients. This unprecedented course of action revealed that Steven’s major artery was torn and was causing his heart to fail.
In just two hours Steven’s heart was stabilised which meant doctors from the trauma team could give Steven the life-saving treatment he needed for the injuries sustained in the accident. He spent six weeks on a life support machine fighting for his life in the critical care unit, before having a heart bypass operation and two other operations to get him back on the road to recovery.
Dr. Adamson said: “Steven is unusual because his heart developed a life threatening rhythm disturbance that was not compatible with life which meant the trauma team could not treat his other injuries. I wanted to take him to the cardiac catheter lab to see if there was something we could do with the heart to help him. It was only when he was in the cath lab that we found the main artery in the heart was torn and his heart was receiving virtually no blood supply. He is incredibly lucky to be alive and I am proud to be part of such an excellent team that meant we are all here today.”
Steven said: “If it wasn’t for the treatment that I received at University Hospital my family would not have a father or a husband. I cannot thank them enough or fault the superb care that I received. They are a truly remarkable team of skilled, dedicated and compassionate people.”
Almost one year on, Steven is still on the road to recovery having undergone a heart bypass earlier in the year and numerous other procedures to treat his many injuries. However, he is confident that in time he will be able to return to work, lead a normal life and see his children, aged 10, 4 and 17 months grow up. Four-year-old Joseph presented medical teams with a thank you card and letter. Steven and his wife Miriam presented staff with chocolates and flowers.