Ex-patient makes wooden gifts for hospital staff who helped him recover

Ex-patient makes wooden gifts for hospital staff who helped him recover
Campbell McDonald pictured with staff nurses Allyssa Fernandez, Jacqueline Laird, Amber Mathieson, Margaret Pollock, Rikki Harper and Claire Sutherland (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde/PA)

A man rushed to hospital with kidney failure has been described as a real-life Mr Geppetto after crafting personalised wooden gifts for the 50 staff who aided his recovery.

Campbell McDonald, 74, from Whitecross near Linlithgow, was referred to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow in January, suffering from a severe infection after contracting cellulitis.

He had originally been taken to the Forth Valley Hospital in Larbert, but on seeing just how ill he was, medics sent him to QEUH to receive specialist care.

“I’d contracted sepsis and after being blue-lighted to the QEUH they found I had a kidney issue so I was put on dialysis,” he said.

Mr McDonald working on one of the 50 gifts he fashioned for staff (NHS Greater Glasgow and CLyde/PA)

Mr McDonald, a joiner and cabinet maker by trade, remained in the kidney unit for four weeks receiving treatment for acute kidney injury, and over that time he got to know the hospital’s staff.

“I just wanted to say thank you, to all of them,” he said. “They’d fixed my leg and got my kidneys to work again – they were all so important to my recovery that I wanted to do something.”

So, once he was sent home, Mr McDonald set to work fashioning blocks of wood into unique tokens of friendship, gratitude and love for the 50 staff he got to know during his stay.

Each memento was carefully crafted to suit the recipient’s personality and interests.

One of the 50 wooden pieces Mr McDonald made (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde/PA)

“I have stories for them all,” he said. “In fact, I got pictures of all of the staff to remind me of them, and ticked them off as I went.

“Working like this really helped me to get well again, and to think I was doing something – no matter how small – for those staff who helped me, was lovely.”

Reflecting on their reaction to receiving their personalised gifts, Mr McDonald continued: “They didn’t really say anything – just thank you. It was almost like they were embarrassed.

“I don’t think all the staff at that hospital, or across the NHS for that matter, really appreciate how they change people’s lives with their care, and their kindness.”

A guitar stand Mr McDonald made as a thank-you to one staff member (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde/PA)

Alison McKechnie, senior charge nurse at the QEUH Renal Unit, was on duty when Mr McDonald presented the gifts.

“All I can say is thank you,” she said. “All the staff were so surprised and so pleased.

“It’s always lovely to receive a gift, but Campbell had been with us for a fair while, and he’d got to know the staff so well that this was particularly special given the thought and effort he had put in.”

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