Durham Life Savers

Hope Burrows, ACA and Kevin Taylor, UCA set out on a routine PTS journey in January which took a serious turn. They collected their patient from the James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough but upon arrival at the patient’s home it became clear he was unwell.

Kevin said: “I asked if he was ok but he was displaying signs of being breathless and gasping saying he felt dizzy. We got him a chair but then he collapsed. I quickly checked for a pulse and his breathing and it was clear he was entering cardiac arrest.”

Hope ran to the PTS ambulance and grabbed the vehicle’s AED kit and oxygen. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest.

Hope said: “As per our training for this sort of situation, we gave the patient two shocks and got his pulse back, the paramedics arrived then to take him back to the hospital. Without the AED I’m not sure the patient would have survived.”

The next day Kevin was able to visit the patient in hospital and was pleased to see him making a good recovery.

Christian O’Boyle, Clinical Manager for the North said: “I have since spoken to the ward the patient was moved to following his cardiac arrest, the patient underwent further emergency investigations and treatment. I am delighted to say that he has since been discharged from Hospital home, and is well.

“I spoke with the nurse in charge he was impressed and passed on his thanks and praise to Hope and Kevin. Although our NEPTS are trained to undertake CPR in the rare event of a cardiac arrest whilst on duty, few fortunately have to implement their training and use these skills. As an A&E charge nurse over the years this is something I often dealt with, sometimes even on a daily basis, but this is not something NEPTS crews will come across often, which to me make this all the more impressive. This is always a highly charged adrenaline situation, it was without doubt daunting for them. The crew reverted to the training they had undertaken and followed the correct process. Their quick thinking to utilise the AED which they had on board the vehicle undoubtedly changed this patient’s outcome and saved his life.”

Photo caption: Christian O’Boyle and Operations Manager, Dean Laws presented Hope and Kevin each with a bunch of flowers  and an Amazon gift voucher.