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Community First Responder receives national award

Press Release - 28 October 2010

A St John Ambulance community first responder has received a prestigious national award following her efforts to save a patient on behalf of South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Giselle Hampton was awarded the Ambulance Service Institute’s Community First Responder Award at a ceremony held at the House of Lords on Wednesday, 27 October.

Community First Responders are volunteers who respond to certain emergencies on behalf of SECAmb.  Operating in their own communities, they provide vital treatment to patients in the minutes before ambulance clinicians arrive.

Giselle, who has a responder for two years and operates in the Effingham area, has been recognised following her attempt to save the life of a forester who had collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest in woodland during the heavy snow on 7 January.

Giselle was called to attend the emergency in her St John Ambulance 4X4 on the North Downs near Horsley where the snow in some parts was up to 18 inches deep and the temperature at least minus 10 degrees centigrade. 

Despite the challenging conditions, Giselle managed to reach the scene to  find that the patient’s colleagues had been carrying out CPR for 20 to 30 minutes. 

Giselle quickly took control of the scene and continued to carry out CPR for a further 15 to 20 minutes before another St John Ambulance responder and SECAmb clinicians arrived. SECAmb clinicians were able to reach the scene.

The clinicians, including Giselle, continued to carry out CPR on the patient while en route to hospital but unfortunately it proved unsuccessful and the patient died.

St John Ambulance Assistant Commissioner, Andrew Latham said: “St John Ambulance volunteers in Surrey are totally committed to supporting SECAmb and the people of Surrey in the provision of Community First Responder Schemes across the county.  We are very proud of the actions that Giselle took in the atrocious arctic weather conditions last winter.  She did her best to make the difference between a life lost and a life saved putting her own life in danger in the highest traditions of St John Ambulance and SECAmb.”

SECAmb’s Responder Network Lead, Jo Shakir, was delighted that Giselle received national recognition for her effort.

She said: “The Trust is very proud of Giselle’s efforts. Her semi-automatic external defibrillator was analysed and showed that the team had completed 29 rounds of analyses and nearly an hour of CPR.

“The commitment that Giselle showed in delivering the best treatment and care to this patient was clearly apparent. She is a credit to her team and SECAmb.”

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