A COUNCILLOR who was left fighting for his life after waiting over four hours for an ambulance has thanked well-wishers for their support.

On June 24, Connah’s Quay Councillor Bernie Attridge felt an ‘explosion of pain’ and was ‘screaming in agony’ when his wife Leanne called an ambulance at 11.20pm.

However, the couple had to wait four and a half hours before an ambulance arrived and Cllr Attridge was rushed to the Countess of Chester where he was in intensive care.

Mr Attridge said despite paramedics attempting to diagnose him over the phone, he suffered a perforated bowel and severe sepsis and was ‘lucky’ to be alive.

He told the Leader: “I was in that much pain that after two hours I just gave up. When the ambulance did turn up the paramedics were so apologetic.

"I couldn't even move to get to the hospital myself. They saw how ill I was and knew I needed to get to the nearest hospital so they took me to the Countess, alone because my family couldn’t come in.

“The next thing I know, I’m waking up in intensive care to be told they’ve operated on me and they called my wife at 7.20am the next day to tell them they didn’t think I would pull through.

“But I have. A nurse came to see me a week after I’d woken up and he said he can’t believe he’s stood talking to me. He had never dealt with such an ill person.

“It was the worst case of sepsis he had seen. I’m a strong person but those doctors and nurses have saved my life.”

Cllr Attridge said despite the ‘world-class’ service he received in hospital, he was told if he had waited any longer for an ambulance, ‘things would be so different’.

He added: “I appreciate there’s a strain on the NHS, especially with Covid but the paramedics came and even they said they should have been sent to me sooner.

“They tried to diagnose over the phone and was diagnosing me with a heart attack but it was far from a heart attack.

“I’ve called an ambulance before when I’ve had pneumonia and within half an hour I’ve been in hospital. But after her ringing at 11.20pm and it came at 3.50am, I’m so disappointed.

“Yes, my life has been saved, but it could have been so different. If I had been left for another hour, I wouldn’t be here now.

“When in hospital, I received first-class service from everyone to health care staff on the ward to the doctors and nurses, I don’t have a single fault over the care.

“Those people saved my life, I will forever be in debt. But the ambulance service needs to do more.”

After three weeks in hospital, Cllr Attridge is now at home with his family where he will stay for five-weeks.

Then he will return to hospital for more major surgery once given the chance to rebuild some strength.

Upon his return, hundreds across the community have been quick to share their messages of support for the councillor who ‘always puts others first’.

He said: “All the messages I’ve been receiving is very humbling. It’s a lot of support from a lot of people.

“Even the Connah’s Quay vicar Alexier Mayes came to the hospital to send a prayer and support us. I needed more strength.

“I do my best as a councillor to help people but when the boot is on the other foot and people are showing support, it’s so very kind.

“I’ve gotten through this and I’m still here, I can fight anything.”

Taking to social media upon his return home, Bernie wrote: "Can I thank everyone who have sent me best wishes over these last few weeks. I have been discharged today from Hospital for five weeks before I return for more major surgery.

"After waiting four and a half hours for an ambulance I was diagnosed with a perforated bowl and sepsis at the COCH my next of Kin was called in as I was very poorly and they didn't think I was going to pull through thank God I did.

"After receiving life saving treatment I was kept in intensive care for two days on a life support machine.

"I still have a growth that needs taking away but that will be done when I'm stronger in about five weeks. Can I thank every single member of staff at COCH who helped save my life, and to my family and friends who have been here for me through the darkest days of my life. Also I appreciated Alexier Mayes visit to the hospital to offer me strength through prayer."

Liz Wedley, Area Operations Manager for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We are sorry and concerned to hear of Cllr Attridge’s wait for the arrival of an ambulance and understand how this would add to the distress when unwell.

“We will be reaching out to him to fully hear and explore his concerns.

“In the meantime, we wish him a full and speedy recovery from his ordeal.”