Thank you again, Portimão Hospital!

Dear Editor,

There are always comparisons made between hospitals, asking the question, which one does the better job? The CHBA in Portimão saved my life in 2012 when I had an abscess on my colon which was stopping me eating and drinking and my immune system was attacking my body, trying to kill it off.

Since then I have been treated by the department that deals with stomach problems. For a while the remedies worked, but then came back again. There is nothing worse than wanting to go to the loo and having no time to find a toilet.
The doctor who looked after me is lovely and very caring. Just before last Christmas she told me my large intestine was infected and if the treatment couldn’t clear it, I would have to have it removed. Nothing worked. I told her I would rather die than have a bag fitted.

She said dying was not an option and showed me the small bags that were now used after surgery. Just after Christmas I was offered an injection, on trial, to see if that would clear up my problem. I tried it for a number of weeks but no such luck. I was then admitted to Portimão hospital for the operation.

I was in there for 10 days and the treatment could not have been better. I don’t speak Portuguese but the doctors and nurses – although their English in some cases was limited – all got their messages through to me.

Of course the hospital in Lisbon is better equipped and so it should be – it is one of the biggest hospitals I have seen. They have a nursing college and many more doctors, but the skills of my surgeon could not be faulted. I can’t wait now until my body has healed itself and, when it has, I am hoping for the final operation to connect my inside back together and then have the external bag removed.

When I had to buy more bags I was told to go to Silves Clinic (not far from the Law Courts) where one of the nurses there took me under her wing. I saw her every other day for about two weeks and she changed the bag and made sure I was OK. She helped me in the ordering of more bags, and for all her trouble I was very grateful.

Would I go anywhere else? No way! I could not recommend this hospital higher. And all the staff could not have been nicer.

So far, the operation has changed my life. I can now go anywhere and not worry about finding a toilet. And to be able to do all the things you enjoy is worth its weight in gold. When I have the third operation, and have the outside bag removed, it will be heaven and will allow me to be “normal” again.

Brian Pemberton, by email