It was a shock today, on reading the Derbyshire Times, to learn that Bill Mountford has passed away.
Bill was a staunch, loyal and in every sense a generous member of our group. He did not have an easy journey after his laryngectomy operation and it was a great pleasure to see him finally achieve a new method of speech last year.
He shared a love of fishing with several others in the group and most meetings saw him sharing the latest joke he had heard, though until recently that was done by him using his notepad.
Bill will be missed but not forgotten. We send our condolences to his brother Dave and the rest of his family.
Neckbreathers such as laryngectomees and permanent tracheostomies are not numerous. Medical and emergency service personnel do not meet us that frequently. This unfamiliarity can lead to unfortunate consequences, especially when accompanied by a lack of training. There is no point in trying to deliver oxygen or rescue breathing through our mouth or nose. Only the stoma, or hole in our neck, offers a route to our lungs.
In the worst cases errors can lead to death though more frequently the consequence is a delay in the necessary treatment and a loss of confidence in medical staff. Several members of HNChelp can report on such errors and there have been several incidents within the North Trent region in the past year.
The National Tracheostomy Safety Project (NTSP) has been working to improve the safety of neckbreathers, tracheostomies and laryngectomees, when in hospital or in other situations.
July 7th sees the European launch of the Global Tracheostomy Collaborative (GTC). This is a world-wide initiative to improve the treatment of neckbreathers wherever they live. The NTSP support the work of the GTC, as does NALC.
I have been invited to speak at this event at the Royal College of Surgeons, to provide a patient perspective. The headline speaker on the day is Professor Stephen Hawking . I will report on the event at a later date.
Guest of Honour was Tony Curtis, our former treasurer, who can be seen above (on the left) receiving a presentation of thanks from Ray Mountain, Chairman of HNChelp. Tony was instrumental when the group became independent from Chesterfield Royal and without his efforts the group may not have survived.
Members present had an enjoyable evening with excellent service from the staff of The Olde House and very good food. New treasurer Pam Gill organised a raffle and members contributed generously to the cost of the event. Absent friends were in our thoughts, especially those unable to attend for reasons of poor health.