Selfless NHS nurses saving lives and going the extra mile honoured at Sun’s health awards – The Sun

THE skill, care and dedication nurses show every day is inspirational.

And most of us know a nurse who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to look after you or a loved one.

Despite this, it's rare that we get a chance to say thank you to these nurses – and this is why we are hosting the Who Cares Wins health awards tonight.

Below are the moving, inspiring stories of our three shortlisted nominees for Best Nurse.

They include Carlton DeCosta, Liz Monaghan and Margaret Ballard.

The winners will be revealed tonight at a special ceremony.

'His support went above and beyond'

SENIOR charge nurse CARLTON DECOSTA works long hours in the intensive care unit – and still makes time for his patients after his shift has ended.

And now his hard work has been rewarded after he was nominated for Best Nurse award by a former patient, Wendy Lemard.

Wendy, 49, spent time on the ward at Newham University Hospital in East London after falling into a diabetic coma last May.

The mum of three said: “Carlton took it upon himself to buy me food and drink out of his own pocket when I was coming out of the coma. This is something that is very rare within the NHS and he did not have to do it but he did.

“He made sure that when he left the unit for the day that he would come and sit with me and spend time with me before he left.”

Carlton, 49, also gave his support to Wendy’s three children – Cassandra, 27, Andre, 21, and Dequan, seven – through the difficult time.

Wendy, of Forest Gate, East London, said: “The thing that touched me most about Carlton was his care and support for Dequan, as he knew I had lost my partner four years before.

“Carlton was aware of how hard it was for my son losing his dad and having to deal with me being in a coma. He sat with Dequan and told him in simple terms what was happening with me.

“Carlton did go beyond his job description and deserves recognition.

“After being in a coma my memory at the time was not 100 per cent and it took flashbacks to piece certain bits of the puzzle together.

“The one thing that stood out in my mind while on the general ward and after discharge was Carlton.”

Carlton, 49, was shocked to hear he had been nominated.

He said: “It made me a bit tearful, actually. I find my job very rewarding and I love caring for patients.”

Selfless Liz goes extra mile

Caring LIZ MONAGHAN is always willing to do that bit extra for her patients.

She is the Matron for Palliative and End of Life Care at the Florence Nightingale Hospice, based at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, Bucks.

And she set up the Purple Rose initiative to improve care for patients and their loved ones in the final days of their lives.

Liz, 53, who has worked in palliative care for three decades, said: “It has never got easier to tell someone they are dying – nor should it. You have to get it right.

“Also if I can get someone’s relatives to the point where they say, ‘That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be’, then I know I have done a good job.”


The Purple Rose was introduced in January. Staff have access to resource boxes on each ward that bring together practical information.

It includes a purple rose to place on the door or curtain to allow further privacy.

Liz introduced purple drawstring bags for deceased patients’ personal belongings – initially using her own money to fund these – instead of the standard envelope.

She said: “The purple rose is a symbol that ties together all the work we do.”

Liz has been nominated by Elaine Trump, 70, a member of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust’s Patient Experience Group.

Elaine said: “It makes a difference when you get a person like Liz. She does that extra bit so selflessly.”

Mum would have died without Margaret

PRACTICE nurse MARGARET BALLARD immediately knew patient Sharon White was gravely ill when she arrived at her surgery.

She administered oxygen straight away before getting Sharon, 59, transferred to hospital, where she was treated for sepsis and double pneumonia.

Margaret, 57, has been nominated by Sharon’s daughter, Nikki Capp, for saving her mum’s life that day in January.

Nikki, 28, a customer services advisor, who took Sharon to The Village Surgery in Caerphilly, South Wales, recalled: “Mum had gone downhill rapidly. She was short of breath and wasn’t very responsive.


“When she arrived at the GP surgery, her blood oxygen level was 81, which we learnt was so low that a person could die in their sleep. Margaret was shocked to see my mum this way.

“However, she was very professional, focused and comforting. She sent us straight to hospital and has helped my mum in her recovery.

“When Margaret saw my mum for a check-up, she admitted she thought she’d never see my mum again.”

Margaret has been a nurse for 37 years and has worked at the surgery since 2007.

Back then, it was classed as “failing” and she was asked to become a partner in the practice to help turn it around.

Margaret said: “It was pretty poor when I got here. It’s successful now.”

Sharon, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said: “To me, she is like Florence Nightingale. She is everything to me.

“I’m so grateful. The NHS saved my life – and Margaret was the start of it.”

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