Northwick Park Hospital team fulfil dying man’s wish to visit the seaside

Laza Kekic and wife Joan in Brighton

Laza Kekic and wife Joan in Brighton - Credit: Archant

A dying man’s wish to spend time beside the seaside was fulfilled – by the intensive care team at Northwick Park Hospital.

Laza Kekic surrounded by his family as hospital fulfill his dying wish to be beside the seaside

Laza Kekic surrounded by his family as hospital fulfill his dying wish to be beside the seaside - Credit: Archant

Laza Kekic, who has pancreatic cancer, spent a day in Brighton with his wife Joan before Christmas. It’s a place that holds many happy memories for the couple.

The 62-year-old economist was joined on the seafront by family and friends including his children Natalia, Maria, Tanya and Luka.

The couple’s favourite Brighton hotel, Jury’s Inn, even agreed to provide a sea view room.

“It was a brilliant day regardless of the weather,” said his wife.

Mr Kekic collapsed on July 6 while on holiday with Joan and 19-year-old Tanya in Chania, Crete.

The former regional director for Europe and director of country forecasting services at The Economist Intelligence Unit was critically ill with bacterial pneumonia (legionella), severe sepsis and multiple organ failure.

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He was in intensive care in Chania’s public hospital before being flown by air ambulance to the intensive care unit at St Mark’s on July 28.

Doctors at the Watford Road hospital said he picked up some drug resistant bugs in the Greece ICU, so needed to be in an isolation room.

As a result of being sedated on a ventilator for several weeks, Laza developed critical illness myopathy and had lost most of his muscle function. He was unable to move his arms or legs, so needed to begin intensive physio.

Then tragedy struck again: further tests revealed he has pancreatic cancer.

Mrs Kekic added: “It’s been very tough but we’re trying to make each day as good as possible. Laza’s determination and positive outlook are an inspiration.

“We’re grateful to all the doctors and nurses at St Mark’s and Northwick Park for their fantastic care and the Ambulance Wish Foundation.”

The pair were accompanied by Northwick Park’s intensive care consultant Mike Dean and nurse Julius Lukban and transported to and from Brighton by the Ambulance Wish Foundation.

The charity gives terminally ill patients the resources, transport and medical care they need to fulfil their final wishes.

Dr Dean said: “Few intensive care patients are stable enough to travel outside a hospital environment so it called for something out of the ordinary to help Laza.

“It’s been a team effort between the Ambulance Wish Foundation, the hospital’s nursing and medical teams and Laza’s wife.”