(Donald Allison, left, and Paul Gilbert)
Two Thames Water employees have thanked the company for potentially saving their lives after serious health issues were flagged up in annual medical assessments.
Donald Allison, 52, operations manager, and Paul Gilbert, 59, field operations manager, both based at Ashford Common water works, were told to take immediate action following their personal medical assessments (PMA) earlier this year.
Following their appointments, Donald is now on medication to reduce his heart rate after a doctor told him he was minutes away from having a heart attack, and Paul is now undergoing a course of treatment after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Paul, from Guildford, admitted to “feeling fine” ahead of his PMA but received a call five days after from the healthcare professional telling him his prostate results had come back very high and he needed to see his GP immediately.
He said: “When I saw my GP, he referred me straight to the hospital. The tests came back extremely high. I was stunned. Absolutely shocked.”
From there, he underwent an MRI and CAT scans, and is now in discussions with the doctors about the best course of action.
“I’m glad I went for it, I want to know. I just instantly thought of my children and my grandchildren,” said Paul.
“By going for the PMA, I’ve given myself a fighting chance of beating it. My children were shocked but they’re all supporting me.
“Thames Water has potentially saved my life. If I can beat it, it will have definitely saved it and I’ll forever be grateful.”
He also urged his colleagues to go for the check-up, adding: “I’m glad I went for it, and I’d recommend everybody goes for it. It could save your life.”
Donald’s is a similar story. “I walked into the assessment, and I said to the assessor that I was fine and feeling fine,” he said.
“He took my blood pressure, and it was so high. I was basically a walking time-bomb, I could have had a heart attack at any point.
“I was fine, but he told me to go the A&E department immediately, not to drive and to get it checked out. I felt a bit stupid, I was in A&E doing work emails.”
Donald’s now on a course of treatment to reduce his heart rate, and it’s already working. Along with that, he’s currently undergoing tests after a possible heart murmur was discovered.
He said: “It’s been a real eye-opener. My doctor said it’s the silent killer. If I hadn’t had the PMA, I genuinely could have died. I felt fine, and wouldn’t have gone to the doctor.
“It’s given me a new purpose, a real wake up call. I want to see my kids grow up and if they have children I want to be there for them, and my wife.”