A hospital porter, who wanted to thank a consultant on national television for saving his life after a stroke three years ago, found himself at the centre of an emotional surprise.
The BBC One Show told King’s Lynn man James Mattless they were trying to locate Cambridge-based Dr Yogish Joshi from Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Not only did ‘One Big Thank You’ presenter Sarah Greene invite Dr Joshi on to the set from a side room but an additional three others from the 50 strong team who cared for James followed too in a surprise televised reunion.
Overwhelmed, James gave Dr Joshi a big hug and thanked fellow interventional neurioradiologist, Dr Thais Minett who, with Dr Joshi’s help, removed a clot from James’ brain, reducing the chances of death or permanent injury.
Also brought in from behind the scenes were consultant neurologist Dr Smriti Agarwal and specialist stroke nurse, Sarah Finlay.
Moments before, James had said how he had always wanted to thank Dr Joshi, but hadn’t been sure who he was or how to find him.
He said: “Dr Joshi saved me from a life of disability – I could have even died – so I can never say thank you enough for what he did for me.
“I just want to shake his hand and say thank you – that would just be amazing.”
The reunion was screened on the One Show last week.
James, 31, had his stroke at home aged 27 and was taken to Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital by ambulance.
Dr Raj Shekhar, consultant stoke medicine, and his team determined he needed a specialist treatment called a mechanical thrombectomy, for which only a small group of patients are eligible.
The treatment is administered from a handful of highly specialised stroke units, with Addenbrooke’s being the closest.
James returned to the QEH 72 hours later and spent a further 10 days on West Raynham ward where he received ongoing treatment and rehabilitation by a specialist stroke team.
After a three-year recovery, rebuilding his speech and mobility through the Stroke Association and the QEH Stroke Unit, he is now dedicated to raising awareness of stroke in young people.
Dr Joshi told James, who once recovered was able to continue his job as a porter at the QEH: “I can’t tell you how much it means.
“Hearing your success story helps us to redouble our efforts to treat as many people as we can.”
He added he hoped the television coverage would urge anyone suffering stroke symptoms to seek urgent help.