The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust: Worthing woman who launched aortic dissection charity to receive British Citizen Award

A Worthing woman who launched the UK’s first charity dedicated to aortic dissection education, research and policy change has been recognised with a British Citizen Award.

Catherine Fowler has been raising awareness of aortic dissection since her father Tim Fleming died suddenly from the rare condition in 2015 and in March last year, she launched The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust to help improve diagnosis and save lives.

She described it as a ‘time critical medical emergency’, as the condition is detectable, treatable and survivable but in 33 per cent of cases, it is misdiagnosed. Her father, who was 69, was sent home from hospital with an incorrect diagnosis of indigestion.

Catherine will receive the British Citizen Award for Services to Healthcare and will be one of 25 people to be presented with the Medal of Honour at the Palace of Westminster on July 7.

Catherine Fowler, chairman of the trustees at The Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust, aims to save lives by raising awareness of the rare condition

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Catherine said: “I am honoured to receive such recognition for my work in the field over the past seven years. Since losing my father to a misdiagnosed aortic dissection, I have dedicated much of my personal time to drive and champion change.

Catherine Fowler with her father, Tim Fleming, who was sent home from hospital with an incorrect diagnosis of indigestion

"I am proud to have formed the first charity in the UK and Ireland to harness the drive and passion of people impacted by this condition, working in collaboration as one team with medical professionals, researchers, coroners and policy makers so that together we can shape a safer future for people impacted by aortic dissection.

"The impact on my family and for so many other families has been deviating. Over 2000 people loose their life unnecessarily to this condition every year and it is my mission in life to make the UK and Ireland a safer place for people impacted by aortic dissection.”

She was nominated as a relentless campaigner, having started with a family petition and gone on to launch a national campaign in 2017 to drive change by increasing awareness in emergency medicine across the UK and Ireland.

Recognising that many patients with aortic dissection were still dying, Catherine broadened the scope to include improving the consistency of treatment. The trust is now also funding studies for medical research projects.

Catherine said she is passionate about driving change and dedicates all her time to the trust on a voluntary basis. She works with those responsible for healthcare policy and is an innovative speaker who has shared her own experiences with more than 2,000 healthcare professionals in the past 12 months.

She is also the patient and public voice representative on NHS England’s cardiac clinical reference group, the Cardiac Pathways Improvement Programme and the Clinical Policy Unit’s cardiac programme.

The British Citizen Award is now in its eighth year, with two presentation ceremonies per year recognising exceptional individuals who positively impact their communities, charities, and individual cause.