Headway Suffolk

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Celebrations for Radiography Student

A University Campus Suffolk student who overcame adversity has graduated with a 2.1 in Diagnostic Radiography.

In 2002 David Gammell from Ipswich suffered a head injury after falling from a container ship in Ipswich docks. The injury, causing a subdural haematoma in his brain, led to five operations at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and it took him six years to walk and talk again with the support of the charity Headway.

David is living with the consequences of his accident with partial sight, partial hearing and a metal plate in his head.

Despite this, the now 34 year old has graduated from University Campus Suffolk with a BSc (Hons) in Diagnostic Radiography and has started working as a Radiographer at the James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth.

He said “I feel very proud, it’s been a long journey for me. 12 years since I had my accident and it’s gone full circle and now I’m a fully qualified radiographer. The support from the university was fantastic; from the lecturers Ruth Strudwick and people like that are fantastic because they always appreciate I can’t see things like on the board so they go the extra mile for me. They’ve all been very supportive.”

“For me the reason I applied to go to university was because I was out of work for so long with lots of operations on my head. I remember one day I had an x-ray done on my head and it was done by a student and then that’s when the penny dropped, I thought oh, I would quite like to do this.”

“Because I left school and joined the military I didn’t do any further education so I had to an additional year to give me qualifications to apply for university and then the degree is 3 years long.  The course itself is very challenging, anybody who thinks it is like a normal degree, it’s almost like an apprenticeship. You are working full time. I enjoyed that aspect of it, being a mature student so straightaway you are hands on with patients after your academic blocks so it was very challenging but very worthwhile.”

“As we all know now we have an ageing population so we get a lot of older people down for x-rays at the James Paget. Many have spent a long time in hospital so I can empathise with them because I have been there. It helps with my communication. I will never forget my time in hospital. Hopefully I will always be able to carry that on to improve the patient’s experience.”

I had about 10 members of my family at my graduation. Most certainly I wouldn’t be here without their support. Even my relatives who live four hours away came down so I just want to say thank you to them and the staff at UCS who have been fantastic, excellent.”