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Cardiothoracic Services (Heart and Lung)

Patient testimonials

This page brings you information about patients who have previously been treated by our Cardiothoracic Services.

You can also read Kaylee Davidson's story, who in 1987 was the youngest successful heart transplant patient in Britain.

Your quotes

If you have received treatment at our hospitals, you can send us your comments.

Robotic Assisted Thoracic Surgery

I was diagnosed with bi-lateral primary lung cancer in the Autumn of 2017. This, was after a comprehensive battery of tests and procedures (X-Rays, Bronchoscopy, C/T & P.E.T. scans et al).

The diagnosis was complicated by the fact that I had also acquired a mycobacterial infection sometime in the past. However after a biopsy, the result of which confirmed the presence of the cancer. The path forward became clear, very quickly.

After intensive consultations, I decided to proceed with surgery to both my left lung (upper lobe) and my right lung (lower lobe).

It was determined that a "Thorascopic Wedge Excision/Resection" be carried out on my left lung. This was because the P.E.T. scan showed this lesion to be more avid than in the right lung and I was still awaiting the results of a biopsy on my right lung. Also, I had not completely decided upon surgery to the Lower lobe of the right lung, as stereo-tactic radiotherapy was still an option.

Mr. Sion Barnard carried out the operation to remove the diseased tissue in my left lung in mid-December; in a procedure known as "VATS" (Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery). The procedure lasted around two hours and was minimally invasive. I was discharged from the Thoracic Wing of The Freeman Hospital, two days after surgery! Thereafter I recovered rapidly, suffering no after/ill effects. The four small entry wounds closed within a week.

I then decided, with advice, from both Mr. Sion Barnard and Dr. David Cooper (and Dr. Philip Atherton - Consultant Radiotherapist) to undergo a complete lower lobectomy, on my Right lung. This surgery offered the best outlook for the complete removal of the cancerous tissue and best prognosis, for the future.

Mr. Barnard, had offered me the possibility of "Robotic Surgery" to complete this lobectomy. This method of surgery is still fairly rare and is far less invasive than traditional "Open Surgery".

The surgeon, who was to carry out this operation at The Freeman Hospital, was Mr. Dharmendra Agrawal.  Mr. Agrawal is a cardiac surgeon, as well as a thoracic surgeon and is one of a few surgeons, to have experience in the use of robotic surgical equipment to remove diseased lung tissue. He has developed a procedure to remove the lung tissue, with a minimum amount of secondary, physical damage, to the patient.

However, the decision to proceed with this advanced form of surgery was Mr. Agrawal's alone. It was decided that I was a suitable candidate for the procedure and so it went ahead.

I spent only two days recovering on the ward, then I was discharged and went home! If I had undergone open surgery, my stay in hospital could have been up to a week to nine days. Physically, I would have been in a far worse condition and my recovery would have taken longer. When I got home for the first ten days I was only taking 50% - 60% of the painkillers allowed and experiencing no discomfort. I rapidly reduced my intake to only 10%. over the next two weeks. Now I only resort to the odd codeine/ paracetamol maybe twice a week.

I'm writing this, now, only six weeks after surgery, My wounds have healed well (four 25-30mm incisions) my breathing has stabilised and continues to get better, I am able to carry out physical work and am walking further each week. I am amazed that I have come so far in such a short space of time, all thanks to the wonderful staff at the NHS.

I would like to thank all those mentioned above but especially the wonderful nurses, nursing auxiliaries and all professional staff at Rake Lane, Cramlington and Freeman Hospitals. A special mention for the staff on the Thoracic wards, 25 and 30 and HDU/ITU ward 21. Your care and devotion to duty was beyond comparison. Thank you all.

Patient thank you via email

Robotic Assisted Thoracic Surgery

I received robotic right lower lobectomy from Mr Agrawal on June 4th, as treatment for aggressive stage 1 lung cancer. My experience was good beyond all expectations, the reasons are:

  1. The day after operation it was amazing how little pain, and how mobile I was
  2. 2 days post op. I was able to complete the breathing tests and exercises given by physiotherapist
  3. 3 days post op. I was well enough to go home. My family were shocked, in a good way, that I had no problem walking unaided through the hospital and across the car park, with no difficulty breathing or keeping up with them.
  4. Once home, my pain was minimal (i was able to stop taking painkillers) and I was able to easily manage all my own personal care.
  5. Within 1 week of the operation I was delighted to be able to carry out some small tasks for my business
  6. Week 2 post op. and beyond, it was such a positive feeling that I was able to look after myself and be useful completing small tasks each day for my family business, and join social events. Though I was still needing to take plenty of rest during this recovery period, being almost free of pain, comfortable breathing and keeping busy all meant that I was not worrying and feeling depressed about what the future might have in store for me.
  7. Week 5 post op. I was told that Mr Agrawal and his team had successfully removed all the cancer, though I will be closely monitored, no more treatment is needed :-)

I cannot thank everyone enough for selecting this course of treatment for me, and the care I have received throughout. Though my treatment possibly cost more than conventional treatment short term, it is fabulous that the NHS continues to invest in improving treatment methods which can only benefit the long term physical, social and mental health care of patients, no doubt this saves money long term.

Thank you received via PALS

Wards 24 and 24A

I was treated at the Freeman Hospital after a heart attack, and was taken from ambulance to surgery and had a stent fitted. I spent the next two days on Wards 24/24A and cannot compliment every member of staff enough! You were all brilliant, from medical staff to cleaners and kitchen staff. What a team!

Everything I have ever heard about this hospital is true, I can personally testify to this. Thank you everyone for making my stay such a professional, caring experience. First hospital I've ever been in where the food was brilliant, true! Love you to bits! Score....11/10!  

Mrs F

Treatment at coronary care

I was brought in whilst having a heart attack and was whisked into theatre to receive an angioplasty and stent insertion. This was done within 20 minutes then I was back on the recovery ward. The staff were excellent throughout the stay and I would recommend this hospital to anyone.

Anonymous via NHS Choices

Ward 24 thank you

I would like to thank all the staff on Ward 24 for the excellent care provided during my recent stay. No matter what was required, the staff acted professionally at all times and are a credit to the hospital.


Heart bypass surgery

While at the Freeman Hospital undergoing a bypass operation, I found that all the staff involved were caring, understanding, and professional at all times. I was informed of the progress I was making, and if I had any questions to ask I received the answer in terms I could understand.


Good hospital - five stars

I was in for heart surgery not long ago. I can honestly say top marks to all those heart surgeons for the marvelous work they do - the ease they put you through, they were all kind and very confident at their work. The nurses are marvellous, they were all kind and just there for me - that speaks for itself. Freeman Road Hospital has a good name for itself. I would like to say a big thank you - keep up your good work, well done and god bless.

Anonymous via NHS Choices

Patient thankyou letter to Wards 24, 25 and 26

As a recent patient in Wards 24, 25 and 26 of the Freeman Hospital, I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude for the excellent care provided to me during my stay. The staff were excellent and I was shown civility and kindness throughout.

I should be pleased if you would kindly convey my grateful thanks to all concerned.


Patient thankyou letter to Ward 23

To all the staff on Ward 23

Just a small note to say a very very big thank you to you all for the care, love and affection you gave our daughter during her time with you.

The standard of care, support, understanding and professionalism shown by you all was truly amazing.

Throughout this difficult time there was always someone on hand to talk to and help us for which we will be forever grateful.

R, N & F E

Patient thankyou letter to Ward 29

I recently spent several days in Ward 29 and cannot speak highly enough of the care I received from every member of staff. Everyone did their duty efficiently and what is more, cheerfully, filling everyone in the ward with confidence.

Very many thanks to all concerned. 


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