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A Significant Medical History

Frank Cairney says Southern General sister Sheila Mathieson helped save him.

He may be nearly 87, but to Frank Cairney of Cardonald every day is a gift.

"I've been given another chance," he says warmly.

And Frank believes he owes that chance to senior staff nurse Sheila Mathieson and the rest of the team at Ward 65 of the neurosurgical unit at the Southern General.

For it was Sheila and fellow staff nurse Laura McKinnon who saw the warning signs and sent him for the scan that saved his life.

Last October, as Celtic fan Frank was leaving Parkhead, he had a cardiac arrest and was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

After an operation for a pacemaker, the widower seemed to be making a good recovery and went home to his daughter, Madeline Wilson, her husband, Andy, and granddaughter, Frances (8).

However, at the time no one realised that Frank had cracked his head when he fell.

He had been home for about six weeks when his family saw he had become disorientated.

Fortunately Madeline and her husband are both nurses and they rushed him to the Western Infirmary, fearing he'd had a stroke. There, they were told he was suffering from a subdural haemorrhage and had only a 20% chance of survival.

Frank had an operation and was home again recovering when his son, Martin, visited staff on the ward to deliver some chocolates.

Sheila says: "We asked how Frank was doing and he said that his father was a wee bit muddled. We thought it might be another collection of blood so arranged for him to come for a scan next day."

The suspicion was right, Frank was operated on again and bounced back.

The staff of Ward 65 know Frank is normally as sharp as a tack because he has been a regular in the ward - delivering the Catholic newspaper - for the past 30 years.

Madeline said: "Frank has defied everyone. It is all down to the care he received in Ward 65. Sheila was just wonderful."

Sheila paid tribute herself to Sister Lilian Peters, who runs the ward.

She says: "Ward 65 provides very, very good care."

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Frank Cairney with senior staff nurse Sheila Mathieson