Lord mayor of Bristol placed into a medically induced coma

City Hall at College GreenCity Hall at College Green
City Hall at College Green
The lord mayor is unable to stand, walk or talk

The lord mayor of Bristol is recovering in hospital after being placed into a medically induced coma for a month following a serious illness.

Cllr Paul Goggin (Labour, Hartcliffe & Withywood) is unable to stand, walk or talk as he begins the long process of rehab from pleurisy – inflammation of the lining of the lungs.

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He was struck down with the condition following a bout of pneumonia in June and is currently breathing through a surgically created hole in his windpipe, called a tracheostomy.

But in a humour-laden statement to councillors, Cllr Goggin, who has been in the Bristol Royal Infirmary for 52 days, said he hoped to resume his ceremonial duties in November, as he thanked friends, family and the city for their support.

He wrote: “Those of a nervous disposition may wish to leave the room.

“I was admitted to the BRI on June 30 with pneumonia and quickly developed pleurisy. 

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“After an operation to remove fluid from my chest and to fit me with drain-pipes, I was subsequently transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for a 12-hour stay.

“I was then moved to an ordinary ward and then sent home on July 10. That didn’t go so well nor did it last for very long.”

Cllr Paul Goggin Cllr Paul Goggin
Cllr Paul Goggin

He said that within 48 hours he was back in hospital with the same symptoms.

Cllr Goggin said: “On July 23 I was back into the ICU and that’s when the fun really started.

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“Because my lungs weren’t working properly the doctors put me into a medically induced coma and onto a ventilator machine.

“During this period I also got connected to an external blood oxygenating machine (ECMO) and a kidney dialysis machine. 

“Oh, and I’ve been fitted at one time or another to seven or eight drug pumps simultaneously.

“They’ve taken so much blood that I feel like I’ve been re-enacting Tony Hancock’s Blood Donor sketch!

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“And I’ve had so many scans that I probably glow in the dark!”

He said doctors inserted the tracheostomy on August 9 as they began to take him out of the coma.

“It’s difficult to remember but I think I became properly conscious again around September 1,” Cllr Goggin said.

“By this time, I’d managed to shed both the ECMO and kidney machines and was much less a part of the hospital’s plumbing.

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“Physio- and speech-therapists have been helping me both to communicate and with my physical rehab and while I can’t yet stand or walk I’m growing stronger by the day.

“I expect to lose the tracheostomy over the next few days.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that the NHS is rubbish because I’m proof that it ain’t.

“I want to thank all the marvellous doctors, nurses, radiologists, therapists, support staff and everyone else for their many kindnesses shown to [lady mayoress] Debs during what’s been a harrowing time for her and to thank them for the lifesaving treatment that they’ve given me.

“I’ve invited them all for tea in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour.”

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He said that the one thing the doctors could not fix was the boredom caused by not being able to do the job he had looked forward to so much and had enjoyed for the few weeks before becoming ill.

“To misquote Mark Twain – and this happens to him all the time – ‘rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated’,” he added.

Deputy lord mayor Cllr Paula O’Rourke (Green, Clifton), who chairs full council in his absence, told the meeting on Tuesday, September 12: “Cllr Goggin has been very unwell for the past two months.

“I’m pleased to report that his health is improving and I’m sure the chamber will join me in sending the lord mayor our very best wishes and hopes for a full recovery.”

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