Crowdfunders smash hospital COVID appeal

James Scott hopes the new negative pressure room will be named after his mum Jessie Scott, a well-known and much-loved Oban character who died of COVID-19.

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Crowdfunders have smashed a £15,000 target to help save  lives at Oban hospital.

COVID-19 survivor James Scott said he was overwhelmed by the community and other wellwishers’ generosity fundraising for a special infection control room at Lorn and The Islands Hospital.

Now  the 63-year-old granddad, who launched the online appeal as a thank you to hospital staff and escaped death twice during his own battle against the virus, is looking forward to handing over the cheque and hopes the new room might be named after his mum Jessie who, despite doctors best efforts on the COVID-19 ward, could not be saved from coronavirus.

‘It means a lot to me that so many people have responded. A lot of them are people I know but there are some who I’ve never met. There’s also been much kindness from local businesses, said Mr Scott.

In just weeks, there have been donations from 187 supporters and the page will stay up for another week yet.

‘I think a lot of donations have been made because of my mum who gave so much to the community as a volunteer, helping others out of the goodness of her heart and expecting nothing back. Whether it’s been £2 or hundreds of pounds, it is all appreciated. I’m hoping once the room is up and running at the hospital, it’ll be named after her,’ added Mr Scott who is recovering well.

Recent X-rays show where his lungs were once almost 100 per cent deprived of oxygen, there are just two small areas still damaged by the virus that almost claimed his life and he is getting stronger every day.

He spent 38 days in hospital in Oban and in critical care at Glasgow’s  Queen Elizabeth University before he got finally got home. His much-loved mum passed away while he was in an induced coma and unaware she had even contracted the disease.

Next week  Mr Scott hopes to take delivery of a bench with a plaque for his mum to go at the 18th tee-off point at Glencruitten Golf Club where Jessie was a member for many years – and he still is.

Playing golf is part of his recovery, thanks to a cordless electronic caddy trolley he got for Father’s Day he is managing to enjoy the game. On May 29  he officially reopened the course with Oban pro Bob MacIntyre as lockdown restrictions started to lift.

As well as individuals donations to the Justgiving page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jessie-james-scott, contributions have come is from Mr Scott’s bosses at Glensanda, from Zeus engineering and MacQueen Bros Charitable Trust.

Funds raised will help buy a special machine that pulls air into a controlled room then filters it  before moving the air back out infection-free, keeping others safe. The negative pressure room would help patients not just with coronavirus but other airborne diseases being treated in Oban.

Although these special rooms are a standard fixture in bigger hospitals with a dedicated infectious disease unit, it is not common to find them in hospitals the size of Oban.

More money is likely to be needed to go into the complex project being worked on now by the hospital, researching and planning what would be needed to make it a success.