Essex man thanks the people who saved his life.

Date: 05 April 2018


“I would like to thank you all for doing what you do otherwise I would not be here.” - Brian Abbott

A very emotional Brian Abbott thanked the men and women from the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST), Essex and Herts Air Ambulance crew and the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service who saved his life after falling into a cardiac arrest on the 13th February 2018. On Monday 26th March; Adam Eckley, Chief Fire Officer for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, hosted an event to formally recognise the skill and professionalism of all those involved in Brian’s care, at Orsett Fire Station. 65-year-old, Brian, remembers nothing of the day his two friends brought him to Orsett Fire Station six weeks before the event.

Brian was on his way to Thriftwood Scout Camp in Brentwood with his two friends Steve and Ray. After a break from driving, Brian informed his friends that he felt sick and should no longer drive. Only a few moments later in the back of the car, Brian’s condition started to deteriorate. His friends made the life-saving decision to turn off at the A13 roundabout and head to Orsett Fire Station. When they arrived Brian had no pulse, and he was not breathing. If it had been any other day, Brain’s story might have been one of tragedy.

With all fire crew out on risk visits, Ros Heapy - Station Cleaner for 20 years, answered the door and informed them that there was a team of Paramedics out back.

Martin Cross and his Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) colleagues, David Elkington, Andy Batt, Jon Channon, Chris Connor, Darrel Singh,Richard Fitzgibbons, Kendal Lavery and Mike Elsom had all been training at the station and were just about to leave.

“We were about to drive off when we saw something that didn’t quite look right.” - Martin Cross

Their immediate and effective response that day, in conjunction with the rapid arrival of ambulance staff, saved Brian’s life. 

Brian had stopped breathing, and his brain risked being starved of oxygen. To stop Brian from dying CPR was administered via a machine called LUCAS that applies chest compressions to maintain blood flow around the body. In an attempt to get Brian’s heart to beat normally he was given the emergency resuscitation drugs carried by road crews and shocked using a defibrillator on several occasions without success.  

The team were running out of time and options. As a last resort to save Brian’s life, the team applied two shocks at the same time. This was successfully performed, and Brian’s heart started to beat again on its own.  Still critically ill he was transferred to the Basildon Cardio-Thoracic Unit where they diagnosed him with blocked arteries which were unblocked using three stents.

The dedicated ambulance staff that saved Brian’s life that day included Gareth Williams (Senior Paramedic), Teresa Sears (Student Paramedic), Ivan Perkings (Intermediate Ambulance Practitioner), Helen Smith (Student Paramedic) and Brett Crawley (Duty Locality Officer). They worked in cooperation with Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Doctor, William McGuiness, and Senior Paramedic, James Samouelle.

During the celebration event, James said “it was very humbling and an honour to meet Brian and his family, seeing how much our efforts meant to them all. It is very satisfying to see the results that can be achieved when the team works well together and the difference we can make. It was a case of the stars aligning in Brian’s favour that day. From his friend taking him to the fire station, to the HART team being on site and the level of care and response they gave him, the additional support and care we were able to deliver and the skill and speed of the cardiac team at Basildon”.

Brian's friend Ray said; "from the moment we arrived I witnessed all that is good with the NHS in action. I was amazed by the teamwork and organisation of the emergency service".

Brian has now been fitted with three stents and said he is making a good recovery with his rehabilitation.

  • Summary:

    Emotional patient meetup in Essex involving the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and EEAST