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