Pensioner owes his life to Doncaster medics

Mr David Salmon with Helen McAlinney, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw AAA Screening Programme Coordinator.
Mr David Salmon with Helen McAlinney, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw AAA Screening Programme Coordinator.

A pensioner owes his life to medics after they diagnosed a potentially fatal condition by chance when he went in for a scan for an unrelated health matter.

David Salmon 71, of Parkgate, Goldthorpe, was diagnosed with an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) by hospital staff when he attended the ultrasound department for a scan for an unspecified but unrelated problem.

The symptomless condition was detected by Helen McAlinney, the AAA screening programme coordinator, at Mexborough’s Montagu Hospital when a scan revealed an aneurism measuring 6.5cm.

An AAA is when the aorta, the body’s main artery, weakens and expands. If untreated it can lead to a rupture of the aorta which creates a serious risk of death due to internal bleeding.

But following his fortunate diagnosis, Mr Salmon underwent life-saving surgery to repair the aorta.

He said: “I couldn’t be more grateful to Helen for finding the AAA. I had no signs or symptoms what so ever, it’s scary to think the aneurysm could have ruptured at any time! If it wasn’t for Helen, I might not have been here today.”

Mr Salmon is now urging other men to arrange to be screened for an AAA, as it was revealed about 3000 men die from it every year in the UK.

He said: “I would definitely encourage all men aged over 65 to give the AAA screening office a ring and self-refer onto the programme; it takes 10 minutes, can be done in a clinic close to your home and could save your life.”

Mrs McAlinney added: “I am so happy to have detected the AAA when I did. Mr Salmon has now had surgery and is recovering well. The important point to make about AAA screening is that if you have one, it can be monitored and, depending on the severity of the case, fixed. If you don’t have the scan, you may not know you have a problem until it is too late. I would strongly urge any men aged over 65 to contact the screening team as soon as possible for a scan.”

Men in their 65th year are invited for screening by letter, but men over 65 who have not previously been screened can make an appointment by contacting the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw AAA Screening Programme on 01709 321189 or by emailing