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Patients and staff reunited in SECAmb’s second survivors’ event

26 September 2012

Eight patients whose lives were saved by the clinical interventions of SECAmb staff were reunited with their lifesavers on Sunday 23 September.

The event, held at Woodlands Park Hotel near Cobham, Surrey recognised the life-saving skills of SECAmb staff, celebrated the lives of everyone SECAmb has helped save and emphasised the importance of early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Along with SECAmb chief executive Paul Sutton and Chairman Tony Thorne, staff were able to hear each patient’s amazing recovery first hand.

A moving short film telling each patient’s story has been made and uploaded to YouTube. It can be found by searching for ‘SECAmb Survivors 2012’ or via the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIW0GdODs1g

While paying tribute to SECAmb staff and celebrating each patient’s recovery, the film also aims to encourage more people to understand the importance of learning CPR and basic life support.

Also attending the event and receiving a small token of the Trust’s appreciation for their outstanding contribution to SECAmb were Consultant Cardiologist Professor Douglas Chamberlain, and Paramedic Dave Fletcher.

Douglas Chamberlain’s contribution to the development in cardiac care cannot be underestimated. Among his long list of achievements was a revolutionary move in the early 1970s to train ambulance personnel to become skilled technicians in resuscitation - a move which led to the introduction of the UK’s first paramedics.

Dave was among the first cohort of these new clinicians. He worked closely with Douglas throughout his career to improve out-of-hospital resuscitation survival rates across SECAmb’s region of Sussex, Surrey and Kent and from early on in his career acquired a reputation as one of best pre-hospital clinicians.

Earlier this year he became one of just five ambulance personnel across the UK to be put forward to receive a Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours - the first year the medal has been awarded. He was nominated for his commitment and pioneering work on resuscitation at SECAmb with Professor Chamberlain which led to the introduction of a new resuscitation technique, Protocol C, across the Trust.   He is set to receive his honour in November.

The compressions-only CPR, supported by early defibrillation, has hugely improved outcomes for patients across SECAmb’s region of Sussex, Surrey and Kent.

Chief Executive, Paul Sutton said:  “This event was once again a tremendous opportunity to recognise and pay tribute to our highly-skilled staff and at the same time celebrate the lives which have been saved as a result. These stories are just a few examples of the many successes which take place across our region every day.
“SECAmb is just one part of these patients’ amazing recoveries but without the calm advice of our staff on the phones in our emergency operations centres, the actions of our clinicians at the scene and indeed the quick-thinking of members of the public to provide vital life-saving CPR in the minutes before our arrival, many lives would not be saved. We want to encourage everyone to take the time to learn how to save a life.

“I’d also like to pay tribute and personally thank Douglas Chamberlain and Dave Fletcher for the commitment and dedication they have given the ambulance service over so many years.”

Survivors’ Event 2012 stories:

John Munn, Maidstone, Kent
Lisa Corke, Minster (Sheppey), Kent
Linda Bedson, Shoreham-by-sea, West Sussex
Carol Good, Crawley, West Sussex
Paul King, Brighton, East Sussex
Bronwen Drake, Farnborough, Surrey
Joe Goodchild, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
Sarah Fyander, Guildford, Surrey

Link to this year's booklet: http://www.secamb.nhs.uk/about_us/our_successes.aspx

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