A SPECIALIST heart unit at Queen’s Hospital has hit the 1,000 patient mark just 11 months after it first opened.
The Cardiac Catheterisation Lab at the Burton facility marked the historic occasion on Thursday, when pensioner James Hextall received treatment in the unit.
The 77-year-old was ‘surprised and delighted’ when he was presented with a certificate celebrating the milestone when he went there for a day procedure.
Mr Hextall, who lives in Burton, has been receiving treatment at the site since it was opened in a blaze of glory by footballer Fabrice Muamba last year. He previously had to travel to Leicester for treatments, despite being under the care of Queen’s consultant cardiologist Dr Howard Why, as there were no facilities available in Burton.
He said: “I didn’t know this unit was here until I had my annual check-up with Dr Why and he arranged for me to come in today. I think it’s wonderful to have a facility like this right on our doorstep.”
He has been receiving treatment for 15 years, after undergoing a triple bypass.
It was a crisp February day when former Bolton Wanderers star Mr Muamba joined hospital chief executive Helen Ashley and others to cut the ribbon on the cardiac unit. He was invited as a special guest after he survived a heart attack on the pitch during an FA Cup game in 2012.
The £1.5 million unit, which also incorporates the chest pain clinic, gives doctors the chance to carry out more complicated procedures than ever before.
Dr Why, who has worked at the hospital for 17 years, said: “This is the final piece of our jigsaw. This means we can do top-to-tail cardiac treatment here in Burton.”
The unit will celebrate its first anniversary next month.