Dav­ina: My very per­sonal TV trib­ute to heroes of A&E

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Jake Hur­furt

DAV­INA McCall has re­vealed the debt she owes to NHS staff at her lo­cal hospi­tal’s A&E depart­ment – who cared for her dy­ing sis­ter and then eased her own tor­ment after she passed away.

Writ­ing in The Mail on Sun­day’s Life sec­tion to­day, the TV pre­sen­ter poignantly re­calls how six years ago, her ‘beau­ti­ful big sis­ter’ Caro­line col­lapsed at home and was rushed to A&E suf­fer­ing what Dav­ina thought was a stroke.

‘Heart­break­ingly, we found out that her symp­toms were not the re­sult of a stroke but ter­mi­nal cancer,’ she says.

‘We were in to­tal shock, I couldn’t breathe, try­ing to be strong for Caro­line, but she was the strong one.’

Just weeks after col­laps­ing, Caro­line died sur­rounded by her fam­ily. ‘At 50, she was too young,’ says Dav­ina.

‘Yet along­side the pre­vail­ing hor­ror of it all, I also re­mem­ber the end­less pa­tience and kind­ness of the staff, who gen­tly scooped us up and took care of us both.’

Dav­ina re­calls a ten­der mo­ment at hospi­tal in the hours after her sis­ter’s col­lapse. ‘Stand­ing in the cor­ri­dor shortly after Caro­line’s di­ag­no­sis – I’d gone out as I didn’t want to cry in front of her – one of the nurses came out and just rubbed my back. “Are you OK?” she asked.’ The mem­ory of that small act of com­pas­sion has re­mained with Dav­ina. She says: ‘I will never, ever for­get that be­cause in that mo­ment I was bro­ken and she just knew what I needed.’

Dav­ina is about to em­bark on a tele­vi­sion first – a se­ries of three hour-long live shows broad­cast from the A&E depart­ment at Leeds Gen­eral Hospi­tal.

The pre­sen­ter says she jumped at the chance to host ITV’s A&E Live, which starts later this month, be­cause it ‘gave me the chance to do my bit to cel­e­brate the work of the NHS’ in the year the health ser­vice marks its 70th an­niver­sary.

GRAT­I­TUDE: Dav­ina McCall, who has been in­spired by the ded­i­ca­tion of NHS staff

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