Welcome to SWASFT

May 2018

TOBY TO UNDERTAKE SEA EXPEDITION AFTER PARAMEDICS SAVE HIM

An outdoors enthusiast is taking on a brave sea expedition just months after South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust paramedics saved his life at a motorway service station.

Toby Carr, 36, was taken ill with pneumococcal meningitis whilst driving eastbound on the M4 in Wiltshire on New Year’s Day. His condition was life-threatening, and he needed urgent medical treatment.

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Toby - Brave Sea Expedition After Meningitis Scare

SWASFT paramedic crew, Jan Lukas and Paul Murphy, treated him at Leigh Delamere services near Chippenham and prevented serious any long-term effects of his illness.

Toby said: “The paramedics not only saved my life, but managed to check on me in hospital afterwards. This show of care and compassion for a stranger in need was amazing and has touched me deeply. I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me. I’m so happy to be alive.”

Toby, who lives in London and works as an architect and university tutor, has gone on to make a full recovery. He is making final preparations to take-on the ambitious challenge of paddling a sea kayak to all 31 locations of the Shipping Forecast from 28 May.

Toby said: “A friend said to me: ‘There’s nothing like surviving a near-death experience to make you feel alive.’ I have a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for life. I want to make the most of it, pushing myself, and having experiences I never thought possible.”

Toby was born with a rare genetic condition. He has survived multiple health complications, including cancer, and has endured various family bereavements. He has always strived to lead an active life.

At the time of the emergency Toby had an impaired immune system following a bone marrow transplant. But the actual cause of the infection remains unclear.

Toby began to feel ill whilst travelling back from visiting friends in the Wye Valley. He experienced sickness and headaches at the wheel, but managed to reach the service station. Then his breathing slowed down, and he struggled to stay awake.

A friend dialled 999 to alert the SWASFT Control Hub who organised emergency help for him. The SWASFT crew reached the barely conscious Toby and assessed his condition.

Paramedic Jan said: “We were very concerned that Mr Carr had meningitis. That was practically the worst case scenario for him.”

They inserted a small tube into one of Toby’s veins and administered antibiotics. Then they took him by ambulance to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon where he remained for almost two weeks.

Pneumococcal meningitis is a serious infectious disease that causes inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meninges). It can cause life-threatening blood poisoning (septicemia) and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.

There are around 200 reported cases of pneumococcal meningitis each year in the UK. Around a quarter of patients have severe and disabling after-effects and one in six cases result in death. But most people make a good recovery.

The condition requires rapid admission to hospital and urgent treatment with antibiotics.

Jan said: “We would advise people to be aware of the symptoms including headaches, photophobia (light sensitivity), vomiting, a non-fading rash, and altered consciousness. There is a particular risk to children and people with compromised immunity as meningitis is very infectious.”

If you are concerned that you may have meningitis, call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department.

Toby was born with a rare genetic condition. He has survived multiple health complications, including cancer, and has endured various family bereavements. He has always strived to lead an active life.
At the time of the emergency Toby had an impaired immune system following a bone marrow transplant. But the actual cause of the infection remains unclear. Toby began to feel ill whilst travelling back from visiting friends in the Wye Valley. He experienced sickness and headaches at the wheel, but managed to reach the service station. Then his breathing slowed down, and he struggled to stay awake.
A friend dialled 999 to alert the SWASFT Control Hub who organised emergency help for him. The SWASFT crew reached the barely conscious Toby and assessed his condition. Paramedic Jan said: “We were very concerned that Mr Carr had meningitis.
That was practically the worst case scenario for him.” They inserted a small tube into one of Toby’s veins and administered antibiotics. Then they took him by ambulance to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon where he remained for almost two weeks.
Pneumococcal meningitis is a serious infectious disease that causes inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meninges). It can cause life-threatening blood poisoning (septicemia) and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.
There are around 200 reported cases of pneumococcal meningitis each year in the UK. Around a quarter of patients have severe and disabling after-effects and one in six cases result in death. But most people make a good recovery. The condition requires rapid admission to hospital and urgent treatment with antibiotics.
Jan said: “We would advise people to be aware of the symptoms including headaches, photophobia (light sensitivity), vomiting, a non-fading rash, and altered consciousness. There is a particular risk to children and people with compromised immunity as meningitis is very infectious.”
If you are concerned that you may have meningitis, call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department. 

Ambulance service teddies available at Devon County Show

Paramedics and volunteers will be offering free blood pressure checks for any visitors to the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) stand this week at the Devon County Show. (Exeter: Thursday 17-19 May)

The team will also be doing CPR demonstrations and educating the public how to act fast and help save patients who may need quick action when they become ill.

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SWASFT teddies

There will also be an opportunity for visitors to talk about the experiences of mental health patients using 999 in an emergency situation, as SWASFT gather information on this issue at the stand to benefit future working practice.

This year SWASFT will be selling cute knitted teddies to support the South Western Ambulance Service Charity.  A group of knitting nannies from Plymouth, the Busy Fingers Knitting Group (image attached), have kindly spent hours yarning the teddies to help raise funds for the charity.  The South Western Ambulance Service Charity supports those emergency teams who go the extra mile for all of us in the community.

To support the South Western Ambulance Service Charity with a one-off or regular donation please visit http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/ and search for SWASC.

Notes to editors

  • The South Western Ambulance Service Charity is a registered charity in England and Wales (1049230)

The South Western Ambulance Service Charity, founded in 1995, uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of the staff and volunteers of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. 

Our charitable support covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire including Bristol and Swindon. 

We are funded by donations and legacies received primarily from patients, and their relatives, who wish to say thank you for the care that they, or their loved one, has received from us.  In addition, members of the public donate to our charity to show their appreciation for the Trust. 

Our Charitable Programme includes:

Mum meets Paramedics after severe asthma attack

A mum has thanked South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) for saving her life after she had a severe asthma attack which led to a cardiac arrest.

Marie Flint-Fewkes, 28, had major breathing difficulties at her home in Paignton on 16 December. Her condition was so serious that her heart stopped beating.

Family members dialled 999 and began to do vital chest compressions before SWASFT paramedics arrived.

At a special event in Torquay on Monday 30 April, Marie met the crews who saved her.

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Marie

She said: “Without the help of the ambulance service my husband would be without a wife, my son without a mum, and my mother without a daughter. I’m so grateful to the paramedics for coming to my house, supporting my family, and saving my life.”

Husband Sean initially called 999, because Marie was struggling to breathe. Minutes later her skin turned blue, she lost consciousness and stopped breathing.

SWASFT Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Alex Hawkes, told relatives how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in an effort to keep her alive.

SWAFT Paramedics Sam Jarman and Hannah Guest, Student Paramedic Lucy Kelly, as well as Emergency Care Assistants Simon Slade and Gemma Southcott treated Marie. They managed to get her heart beating again – and she regained consciousness.

Marie was driven by ambulance to Torbay Hospital where she remained for three days. She made a fantastic recovery, and returned home for Christmas.

She said: “There was sheer panic. I’ve had asthma for most of my life, but it’s never been that bad before. It was a life or death situation. Without everyone’s help, and especially the CPR, I wouldn’t be here. Now I’m considering training to become a paramedic myself.”

Asthma is a common lung condition that can cause breathing difficulties. Around 5.4 million people in the UK have the disease, and an average of three people die from it every day.

Paramedic Sam Jarman said: “Mrs Flint-Fewkes represents a great example of how prompt, good quality treatment can save lives.

“Her asthma attack was about as serious as it could have been. Thankfully the 999 Control Hub staff quickly recognised it was life-threatening, resulting in an effective response.

“We worked as a team to provide quality CPR, airway management, and special medications to help reverse her condition and open her airways.

“Her recovery was amazing, and it has been fantastic to meet her. It is occasions like this that remind us all of why we do what we do.”                        

Signs of an asthma attack may include breathlessness, wheeziness, chest tightness, coughing, and speech difficulties.

If you think someone is having an asthma attack, sit them upright, and encourage them to take slow, steady breaths. If possible, get them to take one puff on an inhaler every 30-60 seconds up to a maximum of 10 puffs. If symptoms get worse, call 999 for an ambulance.        

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body.

If you suspect someone is having a cardiac arrest - dial 999, begin CPR, and use a defibrillator if one is available.

South Western Ambulance Charity logo

South Western Ambulance Charity

The South Western Ambulance Charity, founded in 1995, uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of the staff and volunteers of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. 

Our charitable support covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire including Bristol and Swindon.

If you would like to show your appreciation for the care that you or your loved one has received from us in the form of a charitable donation please visit our online giving website: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charities/SWASC.