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October 2019

Heart Attack Survivor Steven Thanks Ambulance Crew

Foundation Trust (SWASFT) crew who saved his life when he had a heart attack at his local gym.

Steven Hall, 54 from Newton Abbot in South Devon, was running on a treadmill at Winners 2000 in Kingsteignton when he experienced chest pain.

He was struggling to breathe and his skin was changing colour.

Fellow gym user Angela Rimmer called 999 after noticing Steven in distress outside the gym. To listen to her 999 call, click here.  

Paramedic Stuart Dando and Emergency Care Assistant Hannah Page arrived within five minutes to find Stephen in a serious condition.

They treated him in the ambulance and drove him to Torbay Hospital for heart surgery.

He had two stents fitted and has gone on to make a fantastic recovery.

Steven and his family visited Newton Abbot Ambulance Station on Thursday 3 October to thank Stuart and Hannah in person. 

He said: “I truly believe that if they hadn’t got to me as quickly as they did and treated me how they did I wouldn’t be here today. They saved my life.

“I’m on a long road to recovery, but I’m so grateful to the crew. They are a credit to the ambulance service and the NHS are lucky to have them.”

Before the emergency in August, Steven had lost a four stone in four months after running long-distance almost every day.  

But he blames his previous lifestyle for his heart attack.

Steven said: “I paid for the sins of my youth. I smoked 20-a-day for 20 years until five years ago, and my heart was in a bad condition.

“On that Monday I intended to do an hour-long run, but I had to stop after less than five minutes because of the pain.

“It got worse and worse, and I was panicking. I knew I was in a bad state.

“Thankfully Angela sensed the urgency of the situation and called 999.

“When I got into the ambulance one of the paramedics told me I was having a massive heart attack. They blue-lighted me to hospital and 15 minutes later I was on the operating table.

“My heart attack came out of the blue. It’s been a jolt to my system.”

Angela said: “I was in the right place at the right time. Emergencies like this can happen to those you least expect. Steven looked fit and healthy. I’m glad there’s been a happy ending.”

Paramedic Stuart said: “We attend quite a few heart attacks. Steven’s presenting condition was pretty serious, and we were concerned it could’ve got worse.

“We did everything we could for Steven, but we weren’t sure how his recovery would go. It’s been great to meet-up him and his family.”

Notes:

1. A heart attack is a serious medical emergency when in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.

2. Dial 999 and ask for an ambulance if you suspect a heart attack.

3. SWASFT is holding events across the South West for Restart a Heart Day on 16 October to raise awareness of what people should do if someone stops breathing. It   aims to improve the low numbers of people surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

For more information about Restart a Heart Day, please visit: https://www.swast.nhs.uk/welcome/campaigns/restart-a-heart-2019

Major incident in Totnes on Saturday 05 October 2019

Updated statement 7/10/19

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) was called to a major road traffic incident involving a double-decker bus in South Devon (on the A385 Totnes Road) at 10:54am on Saturday 5 October 2019. 

A ‘major incident’ was declared and a multi-agency response assisted ambulance crews to treat and support more than 50 passengers and the driver involved in the collision. 

Thirty seven (37) patients needed further treatment and were conveyed to a number of hospitals across the region. Hospitals involved included Torbay Hospital, Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Southmead Hospital in Bristol and Newton Abbot Community Hospital.

More than 60 response staff from South Western Ambulance Service attended the incident, with 34 SWASFT vehicles at the scene, including: 

13 ambulances
2 rapid response vehicles (RRVs)
3 hazardous area response team (HART) vehicles
3 operational commanders            
5 doctors
4 air ambulances
4 patient transport vehicles

 
Back at SWASFT’s base, the major incident room was set up, supported by clinical staff, clinical hub colleagues and senior management. At the same time, the ambulance service worked hard to maintain business as usual across the region.

Ken Wenman, Chief Executive of South Western Ambulance Service, said: “I would like to send our best wishes to all those involved in this incident and wish all patients a speedy recovery.”

“I would also like to thank our staff, along with all of the other emergency services who responded to this incident. This was a multi-agency response and colleagues worked tremendously hard together to assess and treat a very large number of patients. I would like to pay tribute to everyone involved for their professionalism and dedication.”

Mum and Baby Reunited With Crew

A baby boy and his mum have been reunited with a South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) crew – six months after they delivered him in an emergency home birth.

Ellee Styles, 21, went into labour unexpectedly during the early hours of 7 April in her bathroom in the Penhill area of Swindon.

Family members came together to help, and Ellee’s mum called 999 when she started bleeding. To listen to the 999 call, click here

The crew ensured baby Freddy was delivered safely at 3.14am, almost two weeks ahead of his due date. He weighted just 4lb 12oz at birth, and is Ellee’s first child.

Ellee and Freddy went to Swindon Ambulance Station on Monday 7 October to meet-up with the crew.

Ellee, who works as a barmaid in a local pub, said: “I didn’t know I was in labour. But during the night I felt some discomfort, and told my dad I needed to push. Then what felt like seconds later I gave birth.

“My pregnancy wasn’t great, but with help from South Western Ambulance Service my birth couldn’t have gone any smoother. Thank you to the call handler who advised us and to the crew who attended and delivered my tiny baby boy into the world.”

Ellee had been in hospital for a check-up hours before the birth, but she was discharged because she wasn’t showing any signs of labour.

Gerard Plunkett, a 999 call handler in the SWASFT 999 Control Centre, instructed the family how to prepare for the birth, while the crew were on the way. 

Paramedic Gary Ratcliffe and Emergency Care Assistant Christina Clifford arrived minutes later, as Freddy’s head began to emerge.

They were forced to take the door off the bathroom, so they could assist Ellee inside. It was Gary’s 29th emergency baby delivery and Christina’s first.

After the birth they drove Ellee and Freddy by ambulance to the Great Western Hospital’s maternity unit. 

Ellee added: “The call handler was absolutely amazing. He helped my mum to stay calm and do everything she needed to do in case my son was born before medical help arrived.

“Freddy just wasn’t waiting in the tiny box bathroom, and as the crew arrived I was ready to push. They were so calm and encouraging.

“It didn’t really sink in until we arrived home from hospital the next day.”

Gary said: “It’s always lovely to help bring life into the world. And being able to meet up patients afterwards makes our job all the more rewarding.”

Ambulance Chief Thanks Response Teams

Major Incident Bus Collision, Totnes

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SWASFT) Chief Executive has thanked the multi-agency response involved in the major incident at the weekend in South Devon. 

Many medical volunteers and response staff rushed to the scene to help after the ambulance service was called by one of the passengers on board the double-decker bus after a collision on A385 Totnes Road.  The incident happened just before 11am on Saturday 5 October 2019. 

A ‘major incident’ was declared and a multi-agency response assisted ambulance crews to treat and support more than 50 passengers and the driver involved in the collision. 

Thirty seven (37) patients needed further treatment and were conveyed to a number of hospitals across the region. Hospitals involved included Torbay Hospital, Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Southmead Hospital in Bristol and Newton Abbot Community Hospital.

Ken Wenman, Chief Executive of South Western Ambulance Service, said: “I would like to send our best wishes to all those involved in this incident and wish all patients a speedy recovery.”

 “I would also like to thank our staff, along with all of the other emergency services who responded to this incident. This was a multi-agency response and colleagues worked tremendously hard together to assess and treat a very large number of patients. I would like to pay tribute to everyone involved for their professionalism and dedication.”

More than 60 response staff from South Western Ambulance Service attended the incident, with 34 SWASFT vehicles at the scene, including: 

13 ambulances
2 rapid response vehicles (RRVs)
3 hazardous area response team (HART) vehicles
3 operational commanders            
5 doctors
4 air ambulances
4 patient transport vehicles
 

Back at SWASFT’s base, the major incident room was set up, supported by clinical staff, clinical hub colleagues and senior management. At the same time, the ambulance service worked hard to maintain business as usual across the region.

Legendary Paramedic Mike Celebrated at National Awards

Legendary South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) Paramedic Mike Merrett was among the ‘everyday NHS heroes’ recognised at The Sun’s Health Awards.

Mike, who recently retired after working for the ambulance service in Stroud, Gloucestershire for 50 years, was a runner-up for the Ultimate Lifesaver award.

He saved countless lives after beginning his career in 1969.

They include Mandy Palk who survived a cardiac arrest at home after Mike gave her CPR and used a defibrillator to restart her heart.

He was named “Magic Mike” by one young girl he was called out to after she was struggling to breathe.

Mike has inspired others to join the ambulance service including one former patient who suffered severe burns as a toddler.

Mike said: “After working at the same ambulance station for 50 years, it was great to be recognised in this way. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.”

 

Kaitlyn Wright, from Askerswell in Dorset, was also a finalist for the Young Hero award after calling 999 when her mum was having a fit at home.

She was just four years old when she phoned the ambulance service and gave all the important information to Emergency Medical Dispatcher Jess Hodkinson.

Kaitlyn’s mum Charlene has a condition called fibromyalgia that causes her to have up to 40 seizures a week.

Kaitlyn told Jess exactly what was wrong with Charlene, gave her address and stayed on the line until paramedics arrived.

Charlene bought Kaitlyn a pink Disney phone when she was three, and taught her their address and how to call 999.

Jess, who nominated Kaitlyn for the award, said: “Kaitlyn was very brave and informative. She knew exactly what to do in an emergency.”

Charlene added: “Kaitlyn makes me feel safe. She’s a star.”

The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards recognises medical professionals and volunteers who have gone beyond the call of duty to care for patients.

Celebrities and politicians attended the ceremony in London on Tuesday and saw a series of awards handed-out to NHS workers, volunteers and others.

Cornwall Community to Benefit from Ambulance Charity Funding

A Cornish community will have even better emergency care after South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT)’s charity won significant funding for a volunteer responder team.

The South Western Ambulance Charity was awarded £3,582 from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme, which will enable the Tamar Valley Community First Responders (CFRs) to enhance the level of patient care they deliver in the local area.

The funding has provided a lifting device for responders to use on patients who have had non-injury falls, but are unable to get up.

It has also been used to purchase other medical equipment, including blood pressure monitor and thermometer for the group.

Julia Cleeland-Smith, SWASFT County Responder Officer for Cornwall said: “We are delighted to have received this funding thanks to Tesco and the community of Callington.

“The new equipment we have now purchased will enable us to further support the local community in a robust and safe way. It is a great investment for the local area.

“Our volunteers give their time freely to help support SWASFT and our patients; and this funding will help them to provide more enhanced care for those in need. Thank you to everyone who voted for us.”

The funding comes as SWASFT recruits new CFRs in Looe, Callington, Bude, Camelford, Porthleven and Helston. For more information and to apply by 14 October, please visit the NHS jobs website. 

The Bags of Help scheme sees grants of up to £5,000 - raised from the 5p bag levy - being awarded to local community projects every month. Customers vote for a local project using a token given to them at a store check-out.

The lifting equipment enables responders to move non-injury falls patients from the floor to a sitting or standing position. It helps reduce extended waits and complications associated with long lies on the floor.

This scheme ensures the most appropriate resource is allocated to an incident, enabling ambulances to be sent to patients who have the highest clinical need. 

SWASFT was given the Best Care of Older People accolade at the Health Service Journal’s 2018 Patient Safety Awards for the initiative.

CFRs are trained volunteers who attend emergency incidents on behalf of SWASFT within their local communities. They respond to particular types of 999 calls where it is essential for the patient to receive immediate lifesaving care. These include conditions such as cardiac arrest, chest pain, breathing difficulties, unconscious patients, fitting and stroke.

There are around 800 CFRs providing lifesaving support to patients across the region.

SWASFT covers one of the most rural areas of the UK, and is committed to providing the population of the South West with the highest standard of out-of-hospital care.

The charity 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 SWASFT. To donate, click on this link: http://www.swambulancecharity.org/donate

Are you ready to #RestartAHeart?

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is urging people throughout the region to learn how to save lives.  

Ambulance teams will be running events across the South West for Restart a Heart Day on Wednesday 16 October to train as many people as possible to do lifesaving CPR.

The nationwide initiative is intended to improve the survival rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. 

Paramedics and volunteer responders will lead the training sessions at prominent venues and various schools across the region.  

Two patients will share their stories of surviving cardiac arrest to promote the importance of basic life support, which includes chest compressions.   

1.    Family urge public to learn CPR after saving dad

Time and location: 10am at the Dolphin Shopping Centre, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1SZ

Rob, 44, was competing against his children at home to see who could run the fastest on a treadmill. Without warning, Rob lost consciousness and stopped breathing, and it was a race against time to save him. Thankfully Rob’s family called 999 straight away and gave him chest compressions, which helped to restart his heart. He has gone on to make a remarkable recovery. Following the incident in February, Rob and his family were reunited with members of the ambulance service team who responded to the emergency. Now the family are urging people to learn what to do if they find themselves in a similar situation.

Rob and his family will be at the shopping centre to tell people more and spread the message about CPR.

1.    Cornish woman saved by passing ‘angel’

Time and location: 12pm at the Eden Project, Bodelva, Par, Cornwall PL24 2SG

Caroline Halliday was out walking her dog with her husband near Redruth last year when she collapsed and stopped breathing.  Thankfully Evangeline (whose name means ‘angel carrying the good news) was passing by in her car and came to her rescue. She called 999 and started CPR which helped to save her life.

Caroline will visit the Eden Project to be reunited with Evangeline and the paramedic team who responded – and to share her message.

SWASFT Restart a Heart Events:

Members of the public can come along to any of these venues for free CPR training from paramedics and volunteer responders. 

Event

Date

Time

Address

Stonehenge

· Patient reunion story (times TBC)

16/10/2019

1000-1700

Stonehenge, Amesbury, Salisbury Wiltshire, SP4 7DE

Princesshay Shopping Centre, Exeter

16/10/2019

1000-1700

Princesshay,  Exeter,  Devon

EX1 1QA

Regent Arcade Cheltenham

16/10/2019

1000-1700

Regent Arcade, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1JZ

Bristol College Green

16/10/2019

1000-1700

Bristol College Green, Bristol

BS1 5UA

Hestercombe Gardens

16/10/2019

1000-1600

Hestercombe Gardens, Hestercombe, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, Somerset TA2 8LG

Dolphin Shopping Centre

16/10/2019

1000-1700

Dolphin Shopping Centre, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1SZ

Eden Project

16/10/2019

1100-1800

Eden Project, Bodelva, Par, Cornwall PL24 2SG

The Restart a Heart campaign (RSAH) is an annual initiative led by the Resuscitation Council (UK) in partnership with The British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, and Yorkshire Ambulance Service which aims to improve the low numbers of people surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

On Wednesday 16 October, an alliance of organisations all over the world (including Ambulance Services, Medical Schools, and Fire and Rescue Services) will be coming together to increase public awareness of cardiac arrests and increase the number of people trained in life saving CPR by organising and facilitating training events.

This is the sixth annual Restart a Heart campaign and the second annual World Restart a Heart campaign.

Without CPR the chances of surviving cardiac arrest are zero. Join us to Restart a Heart and save a life today. When the stakes are this high, don't think twice, just try. #RestartAHeart

There are six easy steps to save a life – please see this link:

https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/how-to-save-a-life/restart-a-heart-day/restart-a-heart-in-6-easy-steps

 

Key messages:

  • A heart attack is a serious medical emergency when in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.
  • A sudden cardiac arrest is an urgent medical emergency when the heart stops beating, abruptly and without warning. If this happens, blood stops pumping round the body, and the brain is starved of oxygen. That causes the person to fall unconscious and stop breathing. A heart attack may cause a cardiac arrest.
  • Anyone can be affected by cardiac arrest at any time. Survival rates from out of hospital cardiac arrest remain stubbornly low in the UK, with fewer than one in ten people surviving.
  • Thousands of lives could be saved every year if CPR was taught more widely.
  • There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK every year, and every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to 10%.
  • When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, performing immediate CPR and calling 999 may double their chance of survival.
  • Most episodes (around 80%) of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest occur in the home, highlighting the potential benefit of family members trained in CPR.

Caroline Reunited with Lifesaving Paramedics and 'Angel'

A grandmother has been reunited with the ‘angel’ who saved her life after she collapsed while walking her dog.

Caroline Halliday was out near Redruth in Cornwall with her husband last November when she stopped breathing.

Evangeline, whose name means ‘angel’, saw Caroline fall face-down as she was passing by in her car and came to her rescue.

Her mum, Mandy, called 999 and Evangeline gave her lifesaving CPR, which she had learned on a recent training course. To listen to her 999 call, click here

During a special meet-up at the Eden Project on Wednesday 16 October, Caroline thanked Evangeline, Mandy and the team from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) and Cornwall Air Ambulance who saved her life.

Caroline said: “Without all these people, I wouldn’t have survived. I’m so grateful to everyone.

“Please do learn CPR and don’t leave it to others. You never know when you might need to do it on someone.”

Evangeline was on her way to a supermarket with her mum and her sister Etienne when the emergency happened.

She said: “We saw her fall down and pulled over.

“Her eyes were rolled back, and there was blood coming out of her mouth. She was making weird noises, and then she stopped breathing.

“I started CPR and we didn’t stop until the ambulance arrived.

“We thought Caroline had died until we went to see her husband a couple of days later. He told me I’d saved her life.

“If it happened again I wouldn’t think twice about helping. At least you’re giving them a chance.”

 

At another event in the Dolphin Shopping Centre in Poole, Rob Chowdhury, who also survived a cardiac arrest, joined a CPR demonstration led by SWASFT paramedics.   

Rob was competing against his children at their Salisbury home to see who could run the fastest on a treadmill. Without warning, Rob lost consciousness and stopped breathing.

Thankfully Rob’s family called 999 straight away and gave him chest compressions, which helped to restart his heart. He has gone on to make a remarkable recovery.

Supported by patients and their families, SWASFT is urging people throughout the region to learn CPR to save lives.

Ambulance teams ran free CPR training sessions at prominent venues and schools across the region on Wednesday for Restart a Heart Day (RSAH).

The nationwide initiative is intended to improve the survival rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. 

About Restart a Heart (RSAH):  

1.    RSAH is an annual initiative led by the Resuscitation Council (UK) in partnership with The British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, and Yorkshire Ambulance Service which aims to improve the low numbers of people surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

2.    On Wednesday 16 October, organisations including ambulance Services, medical schools and Fire and Rescue Services came together to increase public awareness of cardiac arrests and increase the number of people trained in life saving CPR by organising and facilitating training events. This is the sixth annual Restart a Heart campaign and the second annual World Restart a Heart campaign.

3.    There are six easy steps to save a life – please see this link:

https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/how-to-save-a-life/restart-a-heart-day/restart-a-heart-in-6-easy-steps

About cardiac arrest:

1.     A cardiac arrest is a time critical medical emergency where the heart stops beating abruptly. When this happens, blood stops pumping round the body and the brain is starved of oxygen which causes the person to fall unconscious and stop breathing.

2.     There are approximately 59,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) in England each year and 28,000 attempts to resuscitate people. Around 80% of OHCAs occur in the home. Every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to 10%. Survival rates from OHCA remain low in the UK, with fewer than one in ten people surviving.

3.     South Western Ambulance Service needs bystanders to help us save lives together by calling 999, starting CPR and using public access defibrillators’.

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.