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Snowed in Burrington man Brian Haggas makes it to North Devon District Hospital for surgery

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

GRATEFUL: Brian Haggas has praised the people who helped made his cataract surgery possible despite the snow. Picture: Mike Southon Ref: BNMS20130129C-002_C

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A SNOWED-IN pensioner who was due to have cataract surgery managed to make his hospital appointment thanks to a volunteer driver for the NHS.

Brian Haggas, 79, was stuck at his Burrington home last Wednesday due to heavy snowfall, but needed to get to North Devon District Hospital for the surgery.

He said: "I was meant to be at the hospital at 7.30am so I started trying to dig myself out at 5am.

"I was at it for an hour and a half before I realised I wasn't going to get out so I decided to phone the hospital. But before I could they were ringing me."

The hospital organised for volunteer driver Perry Lobb, a retired police driving instructor, to collect Mr Haggas in his 4x4.

By 10am Mr Haggas was en route to hospital with Perry and after arriving he was attended by three nurses who prepared him for surgery.

He was then taken into surgery and treated by three theatre staff and a surgeon, all of whom had stayed late to carry out the surgery.

By 2pm Mr Haggas was in an ambulance on his way home.

The ambulance driver even walked him the last 200 metres to his house, with snow making the road impassable to the ambulance.

If surgeon Anthony Socrates had not stayed on Mr Haggas would have faced a month long wait for another appointment.

Mr Haggas said: "I'm indebted to every single one of them.

"My only regret is I didn't take the names of the people who, without exception, went far beyond their call of duty."

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