EEAST paramedics promote importance of early CPR after life-saving call

Date: 06 February 2019

Hester Cardiac PMU

Crew members from East of England Ambulance Service were recently reunited with a patient they attended following a cardiac arrest just one month after the call.

On Monday (4th February), crew members from our King's Lynn ambulance station met with a patient who they had attended only a month ago who was in cardiac arrest. Meeting with a patient so soon after, especially for this type of call, was something the crews were quick to emphasis was a rare occurrence.

In the early hours of Saturday 5th January, Hester Holman woke up with what she thought was severe acid reflux. Her partner Jim Harper went to get the heartburn relief she often used, but before Hester could even lift it to her mouth she collapsed into cardiac arrest.

Jim immediately dialled 999, putting his phone on loud speaker and begun CPR, which involves giving someone chest compressions to keep their heart and circulation going.

Paramedic, Gary Smith and Student Paramedic, Jonathon Hall were the first to arrive, with Jonathon taking over CPR from Jim until the LUCAS machine arrived with Carl Smith, Critical Care Paramedic and Tony Chisam, Leading Operations Manager. The machine replicates chest compressions, and allowed the team to continue to treat Hester. Also on the scene were paramedics Gemma Proudfoot and Dave O'Callaghan.

As the staff sat around the crew room, they described the challenges they faced to Hester, who didn't have any memory of the event herself.

Carl said: 'We got the first pulse back at 4.32am, but then we noticed another abnormal rhythm with her heart. We got that back to normal, and then her blood pressure was elevated'.

Although the crews arrived, they made it clear that without Jim's early CPR the outcome could have been very different.

Carl emphasised: 'early CPR and early defibrillation is key'.

Hester also found out at the meet up that she went on to have a second cardiac arrest before being transported to the nearest heart attack centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where a team was waiting for her arrival.

Carl said: 'It's very rare that we get to meet with patients after these calls. The chance of survival for cardiac arrests in the UK is less than 10%, so it's really great to be here today meeting with Hester and her family'.

This was a feeling shared by both Hester and Jim, who emphasised how grateful they were with an emotion message as the reunion came to an end.

She said: 'You’re absolutely brilliant, I can't thank you all enough!'

It's always lovely to reunite patients with crews, especially in situations like these, but the message that comes through is clear. Early CPR and defibrillation is key to give us and you the best chance of survival in cases such as Hester's. Keep an eye out for a special video from us that will go through the basics of CPR, so that we ALL know what to do in an emergency.

  • Summary:

    Crew members from East of England Ambulance Service were recently reunited with a patient they attended following a cardiac arrest just one month after the call.