It was a devastating diagnosis which knocked Steven Paterson and his family for six.
After months of agonising back pain, he was referred to the Western General’s rheumatology department for a consultation in February.
Doctors who carried out an MRI scan made the harrowing discovery that Mr Paterson was actually suffering from cancer of the spine.
He and his wife Gillian were devastated by the news, but overwhelmed by the compassion shown by medical staff at the Western General.
Mrs Paterson was so touched by the professionalism and dedication of the team at Ward 75 that she has nominated them for an Evening News-backed Health Hero award, which aims to honour unsung heroes of NHS Lothian.
Mrs Paterson, from Leven in Fife, said the team, including Dr Michael Lambert and Dr Adrian Tan, were “just incredible”.
Her husband had been ill since June last year, and they were certain he had been suffering from a rheumatology problem.
“The only way to describe it was being hit by a juggernaut,” she said.
“It’s not the diagnosis we were expecting. He’s a 56-year-old, healthy guy. Dr Tan told us the news. He was incredibly sensitive. They all knew it wasn’t the diagnosis we were expecting.
“It wasn’t just the care they gave Steven, which was just excellent. They took a lot of time with me to explain things and take care of him. There was lots of humour, the young ward doctors [Dr Clark Russell and Dr Callum Ferris] were often the butt of a lot of humour.
“There’s not a team in the world that doesn’t have faults but as far as we are concerned they were just fantastic. If you want to get news like that, we would want it from them.
“I’m a minister, and part of my training was as a hospital chaplain. Often when the NHS is spoken about, they are criticised, but they were faultless in my eyes and in Steven’s eyes. They couldn’t have done any more for us. They really went above and beyond.”
She said she wanted to pay tribute to the nurses, and in particular the nursing auxiliary Arthur Cormack, whose humour was “just the right match” for her husband.
Mrs Paterson added: “They have done so much – more than perhaps they should have. They gave us so much time. It was a huge help to my husband at a time that was a very dark for him. He’s got a long journey to go, but they have set us on the right road and we’ll be forever thankful.”
Dr Tan said the team at Ward 75, which deals with general medical patients alongside specialist rheumatology cases, were proud to be nominated.
He said: “It feels fantastic, none of us were expecting this. All of us are very pleasantly surprised and I think ultimately that’s how we look after every patient that comes into the ward.
“That’s the kind of care that we provide, to everybody that’s on Ward 75.
“It’s nice to get positive feedback. All of us agree that it was an honour and privilege to look after Steven. The most important thing is that we provided him with the best care that we possibly could and ultimately, patient care is the most important thing.”
The winners of the NHS Celebrating Success Awards, now in their eighth year, will be announced on June 19.
To nominate your Health Hero, please download a form at www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk or call 0131-465 5645.
Nomination forms can also be posted to The Celebrating Success Team, NHS Lothian, Waverley Gate, 2-4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG.
The deadline for entries is April 10.