Hospital porter wins BMI ‘carer of the year’ award helping wounded Libyan

A modest hospital porter in London’s East End has won a ‘National Carer of the Year’ award for helping a long-term patient’s recovery who was badly injured in the Libyan uprising.

Kamel Messadh was nominated by a colleague at the London Independent Hospital for the BMI national staff award.

It followed his contribution to the care of the patient wounded in last year’s fighting when the Gaddafi regime was toppled in the ‘Arab Spring’ revolution.

The patient had to be flown to Britain for extensive surgery at the hospital in Stepney Green to save his leg.

Kamel struck up a friendship during the nine months of treatment, visiting him every day, helping nurses and consultants by acting as translator and confidant.

“This guy had been through a rough time,” Kamel recalled. “But I was able to relate to him, having a similar background, and in the end we became friends.”

Kamel, 44, is originally from Algeria and was able to speak with the patient in Arabic. He also speaks fluent English and French.

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But the modest porter was surprised when his nomination beat off 69 other contenders from BMI hospitals all over the country.

“It was the doctors and nurses who were the true heroes,” Kamel insisted. “I didn’t do anything extraordinary other than my job and be a friend to someone who needed me.”

He brought in food imported from Libya familiar to the patient and even arranged a trip to the London Eye and a birthday celebration.

Kamel was praised this week by bosses at the hospital after his award. Executive director Kirsty Baker said: “Kamel made the patient’s difficult situation bearable by being a friend to someone thousands of miles from his home and family, at a time when he needed it most. Kamel is exceptional.”

He received the award and �6,000 travel vouchers from Olympic double sculls gold medalist Sophie Hosking.