Keep your safe distance in town, urges Covid doctor

James Scott hand over the cheque for a negative pressure room to the local area manager for Lorn and The Islands Hospital Caroline Henderson.

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Oban’s leading Covid doctor and a virus survivor are urging people to socialise by the rules to keep safe.

Granddad James Scott was back at Lorn & The Islands Hospital to handover a £15,500 cheque as a thank you for helping saving his life when Covid struck.

Covid survivor James Scott with wife Sandra.

The 63-year-old, who twice escaped death from coronavirus but lost his mum Jessie to the disease while he was in an induced coma, launched the Justgiving appeal to help the hospital get its own negative pressure room to filter-clean infected air.

Dr Colin Millar who is in charge of Oban’s Covid-19 clinical team said the donation backed by the community and many generous businesses was ‘a big step forward’ and the hospital was committed to make it happen.

Plans have already started with an architect to scout the best area in the hospital to site the special room where the air will be controlled by a machine, filtering it and keeping it virus free.

Such a room is more likely to be found at a teaching hospital with an infectious diseases unit rather than a small country hospital, said Dr Millar, who took the opportunity to plead with people to keep following strict social distancing, hand washing and face covering guidelines to keep the community safe.

‘What’s been happening in Aberdeen is a stark reminder to us all that the problem of Covid has not gone away and that close social interaction appears to be what leads to these clusters. Oban is buzzing right now, the pubs are all busy, stick to the guidelines and stay safe,’ said Dr Millar.

Mr Scott added: ‘It’s a worry to see the town getting so busy. It’s the young ones in the pubs who aren’t always following the government advice about social distancing that concerns me so much. They don’t want to be taking the virus home to their granny. I’d ask them to think about what they do and where they go very carefully, especially if they have older family.’

Despite doctors’ best efforts at Oban, Mr Scott’s mum Jessie could not be saved from the virus.

Mrs Scott, who was in her 80s, was a stalwart volunteer in Oban, well-known and much-loved by many in the town who donated to her son’s appeal in her honour.

Mr Scott spent 38 days in hospital in Oban and in critical care at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University before he got finally got home. He is also planning to give £800 to the hospital in Glasgow.

‘I’m completely humbled that the appeal raised so much, but I think many people donated because of my mum. She was my biggest loss to the virus. I miss her every day,’ said Mr Scott, who had to learn to walk again but is now recovering well and is back playing golf at Glencruitten as his fitness continues to improve.

More money is still needed for the negative pressure room, which will benefit future patients with other airborne diseases such as Covid and those treating them.

Anyone wanting to make a donation can email local area manager for Oban and Lorn Islands Hospital Caroline Henderson at caroline.henderson@nhs.net