Wedding bells at Ninewells

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Ninewells Hospital was transformed into a wedding venue as a Dundee man and his fiancée tied the knot in the renal ward.

Robert Couttie and Debbie Coulson have been together for eight years and became engaged seven years ago.  Robert, who began receiving dialysis at Dundee Royal Infirmary when he was 16, is currently an inpatient in the renal ward at Ninewells.

After turning 50 last week, Robert decided on Tuesday that it was time to get married and with the help of hospital staff the couple managed to get a wedding organised in just three days.

Robert explained, “We initially planned something small with just me, Debbie and our mums as witnesses but we’ve got to know so many people through the hospital who wanted to be there that it became quite big with friends, family and staff all joining us for the celebration.  There were even some nurses who came in on their day off to be there with us which means a lot.

“Without Ninewells I wouldn’t be here today so it was really good to celebrate our wedding with all the doctors, nurses, porters and other staff, some of whom I’ve known for over 10 years.”

The renal team set up an area in the ward for the ceremony, organising decorations and balloons to help add some sparkle to the day.  Estates staff also helped and even managed to source a red carpet for Debbie to walk down.

Robert added, “The staff have been amazing getting everything organised for us so quickly and I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone in the hospital who helped to give us our day.”

Ward 22 senior charge nurse Nicola McKee said, “Robert has been part of our renal family for 34 years and if you speak with anyone who has ever met him, they would say that his most striking attributes have always been his sense of humour and upbeat, positive attitude.

“Despite his own health challenges he has always made time to care and support others – qualities which are an inspiration to us all.

​“We would like to offer our love and best wishes to this special couple and would also like to thank everyone who has gone above and beyond to help us support Robert and Debbie on their wedding day.”

NHS Tayside Chairman John Brown and Chief Executive Malcolm Wright visited Robert in the ward earlier in the day to wish him well and hand over a wedding gift on behalf of NHS Tayside.

Several local businesses and organisations contributed to Robert and Debbie’s wedding. The couple and NHS Tayside would like to thank:

  • Tayside Kidney Patients Association for paying for the buffet
  • The Rosebud for supplying floral decorations
  • Thomsons of Lochee for providing a red carpet
  • A1 Kilts who donated Robert’s outfit
  • Balloons Made For You who supplied the balloons
  • Clipso Hair Design at Ninewells who visited the ward to do Robert’s hair for his big day
  • Neil Sneddon from the Substance Misuse Service, Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership, who took photographs during the ceremony

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