Hertfordshire man thanks ‘amazing staff’ for saving his life

From L-R: Stephen Wapshott, Adam Robinson, Giovanni De Maria, and Emma Humfrey
From L-R: Stephen Wapshott, Adam Robinson, Giovanni De Maria, and Emma Humfrey
Hertfordshire man thanks ‘amazing staff’ for saving his life
04 March 2016

Friday the 13th is widely believed to be an unlucky day, and for Giovanni De Maria it was no exception.


In the early hours of the 13th of November last year, Giovanni awoke at his home in Fuller Road, Watford, to go to the bathroom when he felt an 'unbearable' pain in his left arm.


He said: "After heading to the bathroom I felt a pain which I could only describe as pins and needles or a dead arm which slowly intensified through to my chest."


Being just 41 years old at the time he thought nothing of it and headed to the garden for a cigarette. Unfortunately the pain became that intense he needed to call an ambulance. He said: "Twice I thought about dialling 999 and twice I stopped myself, but then the pain increased and I knew something wasn't right."


Within four minutes paramedic Adam Robinson from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) was on scene to treat him, who was shortly followed by student paramedics Emma Humfrey and Stephen Wapshott.


What Giovanni thought was a pulled muscle from heavy lifting in his job as an IT engineer was in fact a heart attack, one that was so severe that went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance. Fortunately, his heart was restarted in a matter of moments with a single shock from a defibrillator.


Emma said: "He went from talking perfectly normal to cardiac arrest in seconds. Luckily Adam shocked him once and his heart restarted."


In that moment Giovanni believed that he had simply nodded off and said: "I remember apologising to Emma because I thought I'd fallen asleep, but now I know my heart had actually stopped which is surreal to even think about."


Shortly after he was taken via blue lights to Harefield Hospital where he stayed for two days, and was fitted with a stent before beginning his road to recovery which has included healthy eating, an increase in exercising, and quitting smoking.


Today (Friday, 4th March) Giovanni was able to meet those EEAST crews under much happier circumstances and present them with flowers and chocolates as a thank you for their swift actions.


Speaking of that morning he said: "I've got unbelievable respect for what you guys do and it's thanks to you that I'm still here, it’s been a real eye opener."


Stephen added: "He was very lucky to call when he did, if he had gone back to bed we may not have had this reunion today."


Senior Locality Manager for West Hertfordshire Steve Davey was also in attendance and said: "My thanks go not only to Giovanni for showing his gratitude today but also to my staff for doing such an incredible job. It's a level of care and professionalism that is made on a daily basis from all my staff and long may it continue."


East of England Ambulance Headquarters
Whiting Way
Sat Nav postcode SG8 6NA