Cambridgeshire

Prince Harry presents Invictus Games medal to Papworth Hospital team

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Media captionSergeant Elizabeth Marks asked Harry to donate the medal to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire

A hospital team who saved the life of an Invictus Games athlete has been presented with her gold medal by Prince Harry at a Kensington Palace ceremony.

US soldier Elizabeth Marks, 25, became critically ill during the inaugural event in 2014 and was taken to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire.

In this year's games, she won gold in the 100-metre freestyle.

Prince Harry presented the staff who treated her with the medal, giving them a "huge, huge thank you".

Staff Sgt Marks, a combat medic, had asked the prince to donate her award as a mark of gratitude for their work.

She was left with hip injuries while on tour in Iraq, and had to have four rounds of surgery in 18 months.

She collapsed with a serious lung condition before the 2014 games for injured service personnel and veterans.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Staff Sgt Elizabeth Marks asked Prince Harry to give the medal to the hospital team during this year's games in Florida
Image caption The gold medal was from the 100-metre freestyle event

After being transferred to Papworth, she spent nine days being support by an advanced medical system called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which allows oxygen to be added to the blood outside the body.

The technology takes over the action of the injured lungs, allowing them time to recover.

Those presented with the medal included consultant Dr Alain Vuylsteke, lead nurse Jo-anne Fowles, senior staff nurse Laura Bowden, Giordano Paiella and Professor John Wallwork.

The prince told them team about how Staff Sgt Marks had described Papworth as "undoubtedly the best place for someone having this condition".

"From all of us, it's just a huge, huge thank you to all of you," Prince Harry said.

A Papworth spokesman said they were hoping to launch an Elizabeth Marks Fund to help finance the development of equipment and support patients treated at the hospital's critical care unit where the medal will go on display.

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