EIGHT weeks ago this man fell 25 foot from a ladder and suffered a horrendous injury to his arm – shattering his bones.
He was taken to the DGH in a matter of minutes, stabilised by the trauma team, operated on by expert on-site surgeons, nursed back to health and give vital support from the orthopaedics department.
Now his arm is back to normal and tomorrow (Saturday) he will be taking part in the Save the DGH march knowing that had his accident happened after controversial NHS plans are introduced, the outcome could have been very different.
Chris Gape is just one of thousands of people locally who benefit from a string of services which East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust wants to centralise at either the DGH or the Conquest in Hastings.
Management at the Trust wants to concentrate stroke care, general surgery and orthopaedics at one hospital or the other.
If its plans get the go-ahead it could leave people like Chris having to travel the 20 miles to Hastings for treatment.
That is why he is urging every Herald reader to head to the Redoubt Fortress tomorrow morning at 10am to join the Save the DGH campaigners as they protest against the controversial plans.
Liz Walke, who has helped organise the demonstration, says tomorrow represents the town’s best chance to show its opposition to the Trust’s proposals.
She was behind the march for maternity in 2006 which attracted 5,000 people and forced the NHS to abandon plans to downgrade key services at the DGH.
And she is hopeful another bumper turn-out will have a similar impact this time round.
Chris for one, will be there. “Eight weeks ago I shattered my right forearm. It now contains as much metal as bone.
“Two months later it is straight again.
“All thanks to the paramedics, the trauma team, the surgeon and his team who operated on me, the staff who nursed me and the orthopaedic team I visited every week once I was out of hospital.
“I owe them all a debt of gratitude that I will never be able to properly repay.
“I’m also very grateful that I didn’t have to scream in agony all the way to the Conquest hospital in Hastings.
“We can’t take for granted something as priceless as the DGH and the medical and support staff who work there.
“Support the Save the DGH campaign – join its march tomorrow.”