A nurse who visited the home of a man to give him a Covid-19 vaccination has been praised for her swift actions after spotting he had a serious heart problem.
Charlotte Coomber is one a number of staff from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust who have been redeployed or are working additional hours to give a coronavirus jab to housebound people who are not able to visit a vaccination site or GP surgery.
A specialist respiratory nurse in her usual role, Charlotte went to the home of 74-year-old John Oliver and his wife, Gladys, in Cottenham, to give them their coronavirus jab.
Charlotte said: “John is a lovely man who cares for his wife and I noticed straight away he was using an oxygen supply.
“He wasn’t a patient who was known to me and I was only there to give him a Covid jab, but because I’m a respiratory nurse I got the feeling something wasn’t quite right so I just thought I would ask him a few questions about his general health.
“It was then he said he had been feeling ‘a bit off’ – as he described it - and had recently been feeling more breathless than usual.”
After John detailed his symptoms, Charlotte went out to her car to collect a heart monitor and carried out a series of tests where it soon became clear he had an irregular heartbeat.
Charlotte immediately called a GP who visited the John, and he was later admitted to hospital where further checks were carried out and he was given new medication for his condition.
Charlotte said: “Left untreated an irregular heart can cause blood clots, a heart attack or a stroke. John had said he hadn’t sought help because he didn’t want to cause a fuss, but I would always encourage people to contact their GP if there is a change to their health.
“I’m just glad I was there to help him – to not only give him his Covid jab, but also spot his heart problem. I was just doing my job. My community nurse colleagues would have all done the same.”
Deborah Watts, Joint Clinical Manager for CPFT’s Community Respiratory Teams, which operate across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “Charlotte’s actions deserve special praise. She was there to give a vaccination to John and his wife, but she knew something wasn’t right and followed her instincts.
“Without her actions there could have been a different outcome. What she did perfectly sums up the role of community nurses. They never know what they are going to face on a visit but they are professional, innovative, and are trained to think on their feet and make essential decisions. They have a very clear focus on the work that has to be done to ensure patients, together with their families and carers, get the best available treatment and support.”
John (pictured above with Charlotte) said: “I knew something wasn’t right, but I had just shrugged it off. Charlotte picked up on it straight away and went above and beyond to help me.”
Since the start of the vaccination programme, CPFT nurses have administered more than 2,150 first vaccinations to housebound patients, and more than 1,100 second vaccinations. In 2020, CPFT nurses administered more than 5,200 flu vaccinations to housebound patients.
To find out more about the Covid vaccination programme, visit the website of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group.
CPFT employs more than 4,000 staff who provide community physical healthcare for older people and those with long-term conditions, mental healthcare for children and adults, children’s health services in Peterborough, learning disability support and social care support.
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