Hartlepool councillor back home after life saved by wrong number

Ged Hall.
Ged Hall.

A HARTLEPOOL councillor has spoken for the first time about his brush with death.

Ged Hall, 59, spent more than 36 hours drifting in and out of consciousness in his home after suffering a brain aneurysm before making a chance phonecall which saved his life.

Ged Hall.

Ged Hall.

But just 11 weeks later and after two potentially life-saving operations, Coun Hall is on the road to recovery and remains dedicated to continuing his role as a ward councillor.

In a revealing interview with the Mail just days after he was discharged from hospital, Coun Hall admits he is lucky to be alive and told how he spent two days “out of it” in his own home before medics rushed him to hospital.

And he also says he owes his life to Mary Readman, the quick-thinking Hartlepool resident who Coun Hall accidentally called just moments before he fell unconscious - and who then rang 999.

Coun Hall, a Labour councillor who represents the Burn Valley ward, said: “Eleven weeks ago when I was rushed to hospital I couldn’t do anything, I could barely move, I couldn’t say a word. But I was lucky to be alive.

“Now I’m home, my speech is getting better by the week and the main thing is I feel absolutely fine upstairs.”

Coun Hall explained how he wasn’t suffering with any health problems and was on no medication at all before he took a turn for the worse.

But at around 7.30am on Friday, July 12 he described experiencing a “bizarre 20-second whirring sound” in his head.

He can’t completely recall what happened over the course of the next 36 hours, but said he thinks he spent the majority of it drifting in and out of consciousness with his condition deteriorating by the minute.

By the Saturday evening, Coun Hall said his right arm and leg were both “completely dead” and even though he was struggling to move he somehow managed to get to the phone.

Unaware of exactly what he was doing, Coun Hall dialled a random number instead of calling 999, but fortunately got through to town woman Mary, 56, who could hear groaning and incoherent noises at the other end of the line.

She called the number back only to hear the same noises, so she dialled 999 and police then traced the number to Coun Hall’s home in Eamont Gardens.

After smashing down the door, officers found him unconscious.

Coun Hall was rushed to hospital where he underwent an operation to remove a blood clot in his brain before a further five-hour operation followed to ensure it hadn’t spread anywhere else.

“It took me a few days to come round from the operations in intensive care, but when I did I was very confused,” said Coun Hall, whose council responsibilities include being a member of the adult services and licensing committees, a member of the health and wellbeing board and also a member on the south and central neighbourhood forum.

Coun Hall was still unable to move freely or speak with any sense after the operations.

“At first I was having to be hoisted into a shower or if I was being moved anywhere,” he said.

“Then after I started to get a bit stronger I was in a wheelchair and I thought that was me for life.”

With the help of physios at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, Coun Hall started to show rapid improvement and after being allowed home on weekends last month to see how he coped he was discharged at the end of last week.

And although he is taking it easy at the minute on the advice of his doctors, Coun Hall fully intends to get back to work as an accountant and as a ward councillor before the year is out.

“When you are in hospital for such a long time you do a lot of thinking,” said Coun Hall.

“You do fear the very worst, but fortunately I’ve been able to make a rapid recovery thanks to the hard work of the dedicated staff.”

Coun Hall thanked the surgeons, his consultant Dr Anwar, nurses and therapists and his visitors and those who passed on their good wishes.

He also thanked his cousins, Christopher Milburn and Anne Carass, who supported him throughout the ordeal.

“I know I was extremely lucky but I’m just glad it’s all behind me now,” he said.