Couple get their heart's desire thanks to surgery

Monday 15 August 2016


A heart patient who had a novel heart failure device fitted enabling him to marry his long-term partner has praised staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

John Abbott, 64, from Brixton, married Angela, 55, his partner of 31 years, thanks to both cardiologists, who fitted a device to support his heart, and ward staff, who rallied round to help organise a last-minute wedding in St Thomas’ Hospital chapel.

"Our wedding day was fantastic and only possible because of the skill, dedication and kindness of staff at the hospital," said Angela Abbott.

"We're very grateful to the doctors who did an amazing job which has extended John's life enough for him to fulfil our wish to tie the knot. But we’re also very grateful for the kindness which the staff showed us in helping to organise our big day. Without them it would not have been possible.”

The wedding, which was carried out on 2 June by Hospital Chaplain Mia Hilborn, took place at St Thomas’ because John was a long-term patient.

“We’ve been together for many years and after John was taken into hospital earlier this year, we decided we wanted to get married. But when we thought about it we didn’t think John would be able to leave the hospital so we asked around,” said Angela.

“Staff at the hospital swung into action and helped us book the chapel at the hospital, which is absolutely beautiful. They helped us apply for a special licence to marry from the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose official residence is near the hospital.

“The Sister on John’s ward bought flowers for us and the heart failure nurse, Donna Abbott, loaned me a tiara, so that I had ‘something borrowed’ while administrator Wendy Cordwell helped us organise photos. Everyone was so kind and staff even came along to our wedding ceremony so we had family, friends and hospital staff, it was wonderful.”

John has suffered from heart failure ever since he suffered a heart attack eight years ago.

His condition has grown worse over the years and this year doctors at St Thomas’ decided that he would be fitted with a parachute device, which supports the function of his heart.

John’s Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Ronak Rajani, said: “We were absolutely delighted to give John and Angela the chance to get married at St Thomas’. It has been a combination of fitting this device and giving him all the available treatment for his heart failure, including carefully managing his medication.”

Heart Failure Clinical Nurse Specialist Charlotte Farron added: “At St Thomas’ Hospital we believe in the delivery of holistic care and dealing not only with relevant medical issues but also an individual’s circumstances. We are delighted to have been able to facilitate one of John’s last wishes within our Chapel at St Thomas’ Hospital. It was a wonderful day and the staff were delighted to be able to support and celebrate with them.”

Last updated: August 2016

Contact us

Media enquiries
Phone: 020 7188 5577
Email: [email protected]