Printer Peter gives 111 stamp of approval

Muscle ache turns out to be heart problem

When Durham printer Peter Wright called NHS 111 with what he thought was a minor ache, the last thing he expected was to be whisked to hospital in an emergency ambulance.

Peter, from Newton Hall, felt a twinge the day after helping his mother move some rubbish at her home.

Initially, he thought nothing of it - not even mentioning it to his wife, Christine. When he awoke the following morning and still felt sore, he decided to call his local GP.

However, it was the day of the Queen's Jubilee. The practise was closed, and the recorded message advised him to call 111.

Peter said: "In no way did I think it was anything serious. I simply called in the hope that they would be able to arrange an appointment in a few days time so I could pop along and see my doctor.

"I explained to the call handler that I didn't want to make a fuss, but he insisted I sat down and answered the questions.

"We went through my symptoms, and I told him how I was feeling. I also mentioned that my father had died from a heart problem. Putting all the information together, the call handler told me that it could be an emergency.

"He told me that he was sending an ambulance straight away, which at the time I thought was a little bit over the top - but I'm glad he did!"

Peter was taken to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, where doctors discovered that one of his three heart arteries was completely blocked.

He underwent by-pass surgery, spending six weeks in hospital.

Peter said: "As a family, we lead a very healthy life. We cook our own food, we don't use salt, and we stay active. I've done everything from hand gliding to rally car driving. In terms of lifestyle, it's not the sort you would associate with heart disease.

"The 111 service was really good, because I genuinely did not think it was anything more serious than a sore muscle from helping my mother move her rubbish. I probably owe my life to it."

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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