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Reverend’s remarkable recovery after brain bleed

The Rev Merv Jones with his wife Lorraine. He is holding the wooden cross which was always by his hospital bed. PHOTO/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

Couple offer high praise to hospital

ALEYNA MARTINEZ
[email protected]

You wouldn’t know it was just a fortnight ago that the Rev Merv Jones fell off a ladder, which led to him suffering a brain bleed and spending four days in hospital in a critical condition.

Now he’s up and walking around like nothing happened.

The St Matthew’s Church reverend puts this down to his faith and the care he received at Wairarapa Hospital.

He fell at his home on Pownall St on August 1.

It was a Saturday afternoon and he and his wife Lorraine had been in the garden doing home maintenance.

“There were lots of tree branches being chopped, chainsaws and chippers going in Cole St,” Lorraine said.

She didn’t hear her husband fall but knew something was wrong when she eventually walked around the back and saw the ladder laying on its side.

Merv was unable to recall the six hours between falling and his children arriving at the hospital, but Lorraine said she knew something was seriously wrong when Merv walked the 50 metres to their front gate and “sort of hung over it”.

“He didn’t look like Merv, he looked very odd and he just kind of walked past me and looked through me. I have no idea how long he was on the concrete.”

Worried he was suffering a stroke, Lorraine, who is about 1.52 metres tall [five foot], gently guided her husband to the car and managed to get him in the passenger seat.

“It’s amazing how you just develop an instinctive strength” she said.

She called Masterton Medical as she drove there, having decided not to wait for an ambulance.

She never felt panicked until they got to the centre and Merv “slumped” on the waiting room seat.

Then she knew she had to get pushy.

“I ran over to the reception and said ED or doctor. Now.”

At that stage Merv didn’t know how to walk.

“It wasn’t until they got him into the wheelchair when I saw he had an abrasion on his head”.

He was also suffering from hypothermia.

Masterton Medical staff called an ambulance and Merv was taken to the High Dependency Unit at Wairarapa Hospital. Although he was conscious, the bleed in his brain had affected his memory recall.

It wasn’t until he saw two of his three children six hours after falling that he began to remember again.

“It was like he connected with them,” Lorraine said.

Doctors put the initial fall down to a possible blood rush because he was standing directly under what he was drilling with his arms raised. The brain bleed had been caused by knocking his head during that fall.

“I cracked my skull and wrenched my collarbone,” Merv said.

He was supposed to be wearing a sling when the Times-Age visited but wasn’t because “it hurts because of the swelling”.

The Joneses said they were very impressed at the way Wairarapa Hospital staff handled Merv.

“They had a lot of very sick people there,” but still treated Merv as high priority.

“They knew he didn’t need to go to Wellington – they had the skills and resources to treat him properly here. It’s a resource we need to keep, obviously.”

Lorraine said the hospital’s use of video consultation services, to consult a neurosurgeon in Wellington was impressive.

“I found out I had two CT scans and they shared those images with a neurosurgeon in Wellington who was giving advice and it just all worked so well,” Merv said.

Merv, who is an associate reverend at St Matthew’s Anglican Church, said he was used to coming to visit people in HDU, but it was a “humbling” experience to be on the receiving end of the care process.

1 COMMENT

  1. I agree about Masterton Hospital having a similar experience in 2017. Having a bleed at 5pm and being admitted for observation by 10pm, after CT scan and video conference with a Lower Hutt neurosurgeon.
    It reinforces the message for strokes getting attention as soon as possible produces the best possible outcome.

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