How father-son medics save woman’s life twice, 34 years apart?
A father and son medic duo- of Sri Lankan origin- has saved a British woman’s life twice, 34 years apart, reveals a new TV documentary.
In the documentary, titled “Our NHS: A Hidden History” which is set to air on Thursday (15) night, a woman named Yvette Phillips reveals how she was saved, not once but twice, by kidney transplant surgery – first by Sri Lankan surgeon Dr Ossie Fernando and the second, 34 years later, by the surgeon’s own son, Dr Bimbi Fernando.
Dr Ossie first transformed Phillips’ life when he did her kidney transplant surgery at London’s Royal Free Hospital, less than 10 years after arriving in England from Sri Lanka.
Phillips at the time was 10. She was very unwell and “was in and out of hospital all the time for dialysis”.
Operation done by Dr Ossie was a success and while medics said her kidney transplant should last for five years, more than three decades passed before she needed a replacement.
Phillips says in the documentary that she gave her daughter “the middle name ‘Fern’ after Dr Fernando” to pay her respect to him since growing up, she never thought she will be a mum one day and be able to lead a normal life.
Almost 34 years later, when she was told she require another transplant, she wanted Dr Ossie to operate her this time too but she was told that he has retired.
“I wanted him to do it, of course,” she recalls in the documentary. “But by that time he’d retired. Then there was only one man for the job, Ossie’s son Bimbi. Like his dad, I trusted him 101 per cent.”
After more than 40 years since they first met, Yvette and Ossie are still in touch.
Highlighting the history of the nurses, doctors and health workers who have come to Britain from overseas for more than 70 years to serve in the NHS, documentary maker David Olusoga also shows how officials in the past felt uneasy over the arrival of thousands of immigrant health workers.
Today more than 13 per cent of the 1.2 million people employed by the NHS are from overseas.