Hospital appeal swings into action

COVID-19 survivor James Scott has been practising his golf swing at home as part of his recovery.

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COVID-19 survivor James Scott has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £15,000 towards a special infection control room at Oban hospital.

The 63-year-old granddad who cheated death twice during his battle against the virus is asking people to back his appeal as a heartfelt thank you to hospital staff for helping save his life.

He spent 38 days in hospital in Oban and in critical care at Glasgow’s  Queen Elizabeth University before he got finally got home.

Although he made it, he was told after waking from an induced coma that his 84-year-old mum Jessie, a well-known volunteer in Oban, had lost her own fight against coronavirus.

Mr Scott, who says  Lorn and The Islands Hospital did its best for him and his mum,  plans to get the crowfunding appeal swinging straight into action and he will be doing just that this Friday May 29 when he officially re-opens the course at Glencruitten Golf Club as lockdown restrictions start to lift.

Glensanda worker Mr Scott, whose bosses at Aggregate Industries have already donated £250 , has been a member of the golf club for the past eight years.

‘Numbers will be restricted on Friday because of social-distancing but there will be some buckets out and about for donations I’m sure. Money is starting to come in on the crowdfunding page as well now so fingers-crossed we make our target,’ he said.

As part of his recovery at home Mr Scott has been practising his golf swing in his back garden.

‘My legs are still a bit weak but I’m building my strength back up. I’m doing well all things considered although I’m still struggling from losing mum. There’s a long way to go yet but everyday I’m feeling stronger. I’ve got a game of golf booked in for a week’s time.

‘I set up the crowdfunding appeal to try and do some good, to give something back to the hospital in Oban for what they did for us and for others. They said they need a negative pressure room to help them fight the disease and save lives,’ he said.

The funds will help buy a special machine that pulls air into the controlled room then filters it  before moving the air back out infection-free, keeping others safe.

Mr Scott was admitted to the hospital in Oban after a couple of days feeling cold and shivery. He had no cough but worried wife Sandra called an ambulance after he ‘changed colour.’  He was put on a ventilator at Oban and then put into an induced  coma before being transferred to Glasgow. Doctors there told him he was their first coronavirus patient to survive after being on a ventilator for more than two weeks.

‘Oban hospital played a massive part in saving my life, as did the outstanding doctors and nurses in Glasgow,’ said Mr Scott.

Dr Colin Millar who is in charge of Oban’s COVID-19 clinical team at Lorn and The Islands Hospital said a negative pressure room would be a complex project needing research and planning. He said it was ‘a great gesture’ from Mr Scott and added: ‘We will be working to make the project a success.’

Such a facility in the future would help care for patients who have airborne pathogens not just coronavirus.   ‘While we would not be unique in having such a room,  it is not common to find them in small hospitals like ours – although they would be a standard fixture in bigger hospitals with a dedicated infectious disease unit,’ said Dr Millar.