Essex woman thanks life-saving crews after rare cardiac arrest

From L-R: Kevin McEvoy, Nicola Worts, Tracey Bennett, and Georgiaa Statham
Essex woman thanks life-saving crews after rare cardiac arrest
26 March 2016

A woman from Rayleigh has recently been reunited with ambulance crews who saved her life after a sudden and unexpected cardiac arrest almost a year to the day.

Nicola Worts, 48, of Rayleigh was at home and had finished having dinner with husband Lee when she felt some unusual chest pains.

Naturally, both Nicola and Lee thought it wasn’t anything serious and called 111 for help. But because chest pains can mean a heart attack, the call was passed to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST). Lee said: “An ambulance crew arrived, after they looked her over Nicola said the pain had gone.”

An ambulance crew arrived and assessed Nicola who appeared to no longer be in pain but unfortunately, as she stood up she collapsed, and went into cardiac arrest. At that moment however, back up arrived in the form of paramedics Tracey Bennett and Kevin McEvoy.

At the time, Tracey was a newly qualified paramedic and this was her first cardiac arrest, but she remained unfazed and began cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

After 16 minutes of CPR and four shocks with a defibrillator, Tracey and Kevin were able to restart Nicola’s heart. Tracey said: “I never thought for one moment that we weren’t going to bring her back, 16 minutes felt like forever but we didn’t give up.”

Kevin added: “In all my time in the Trust, I’ve never experienced a cardiac arrest like this one.”

Nicola was taken on blue lights to Southend Hospital where she spent several weeks recovering. She discovered later that she had in fact had a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) which is a rare type of heart attack.

Lee added: “It’s understandably something I will never forget, to think that it’s almost a year ago to the day is surreal. It’s been tough at times, and I often wrapped her in cotton wool in the beginning, but slowly the old Nicola came back to us which has made it much easier.”

Nicola added: “My thanks to everyone who helped save my life, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here today. My cardiologist, Dr Tom Keeble at Southend Hospital has been fantastic as well.”

Following her incident, Nicola has also put herself forward to help with research on SCAD at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

If you want to know more about SCAD, you can find it here: http://www.scadresearch.org/about/

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