Stuff that matters

Judy Barreto’s family was told to say goodbye to the 58-year-old after she suffered a heart attack and was put on a life machine – but the very next day she managed a “miraculous” recovery

A woman pulled through a heart attack, a coma, two strokes and life machine support to make a “miraculous” recovery.

Judy Barreto, 58, was in such a critical condition that doctors told her family to say goodbye to her as she lay in intensive care at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital.

She had been admitted on April 12 after suffering a life-threatening heart attack, and her family endured a tense eight weeks of daily visits and countless calls to nurses to see if Judy would make it.

One night, they were also called in by nurses to say their final goodbye, MyLondon reports.

But the very next day Judy made a remarkable recovery and returned home on June 5 to continue her recovery.

Daughter Natasha, a 34-year-old insurance underwriter who lives in Greenwich, said: “Mum was extremely ill. She spent six weeks in intensive care and a further two weeks at St Thomas’.

“As a family, we were absolutely heartbroken, but as each day passed, we were so comforted watching all of the incredible staff take such good care of mum.”

To thank the staff and raise money for the hospital, Natasha and three of her family members will launch themselves from the top of the hospital building and descend 160 feet, with views of The Thames, Parliament and the South Bank.

She added: “We will never forget [the staff’s] endless kindness and compassion during their long shifts away from their own families, especially throughout the night when we were called to the hospital to say goodbye as they did not think mum would make it until the morning.

“At a time when there is so much uncertainty, the intensive care unit staff gave us peace of mind each day, knowing mum was safe in their hands.

“We will never be able to thank them enough for saving her and will be forever in their debt. Without their care, mum wouldn’t be here.”

One of Judy’s doctors was Dr Chris Meadows, intensive care, anaesthesia and ECMO consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’ – and a previous participant in the charity abseil.

Dr Meadows said: “I’m delighted that Judy has recovered after being so unwell. I wish her and her family all the best for the future.

“We’re grateful to them for taking part in the abseil, and hope they enjoy themselves. From experience, I know the hardest bit is stepping off the top!”

Natasha said she and her family are looking forward to the challenge, adding: “As the daredevil of the family, I’ve done bungee jumps and descended the Orbit in Stratford before, but this will be extra special, having my family by my side and below cheering us on.”

You can donate through Natasha’s Just Giving page and find out more about the abseil on the charity’s website.