A terminally ill lorry driver today left Walsall Manor Hospital to spend his final days with his beloved daughter on the Isle of Man.
Ray Ramsey, aged 67, was diagnosed with lung cancer last October, and is now receiving end of life care.
He has been supported by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s specialist palliative care team to make arrangements to be flown by air ambulance to be with his daughter Sharon Ann and his grandchildren at their home.
“Who’d want to die in hospital?” said Ray, who lives in Bloxwich.
“I have been here 10 days and I know I have a limited time left. I don’t want to spend that time in hospital or at home where I live on my own. My daughter and I are really close, really similar, and I want to be with her in a beautiful place.
"I could look out of my front door on to the street in Walsall but I’d much rather go somewhere quiet and peaceful and look out on to a beautiful lawn and pool so that’s what I’m doing. Anyone who’s been to the Isle of Man will tell you how lovely it is.”
Ray went to his GP after coughing up blood and says his diagnosis was a big shock.
“He came out with it – you’ve got lung cancer – and I think I’m still in shock now. But it is what it is. That’s it. I’m dying and no-one can do anything about it.
“I can have a say about where I want to die though and the team here has been fantastic, making this happen for me. We’ve had to get an ambulance sorted, and my daughter has paid for this. I’ll be off as soon as possible today which is what I want.”
Vicki Jones Specialist Nurse Practitioner – End of Life Care and Sarah Griffin Palliative CNS have been supporting Ray and liaising with his daughter.
Vicki said: “I met Ray for the first time last Friday and asked him, as part my assessment, where he wanted to be at the end of his life and Ray explained about his history with the Isle of Man.
"This has led us to where we are today. I have liaised directly with Nobles Air Ambulance to co-ordinate a safe discharge and have also kept the Isle of Man hospice up to date with progress - all the time being aware of how unwell Ray is. Sarah also supported Ray and Sharon Ann over the weekend and kept Sharon Ann updated on her dad's condition.
"This morning I was able to spend some time completing an Advance Care Plan (ACP) to record Ray's wishes and preferences which includes planning the songs he wants at his funeral and we are so pleased that with us all working together we can help him to die where he wants to be. Both Sarah and I feel very privileged to be a part of making this happen."