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Family reunited with life-saving ambulance crews

27 April 2016

Over the years neighbours have become accustomed to seeing an ambulance outside the Freeman home in Hempstead, near Gillingham, but in November last year the presence of a South East Ambulance Service (SECAmb) crew proved to be a life saver for Arthur Freeman.

The SECAmb crew attended after Arthur’s son Andrew rushed from Lordswood to his dad’s aid before calling 999 reporting the 87-year-old’s side and chest pain.

“When I got there he was obviously very unwell and as he had suffered angina attacks before I gave him some of his GTN spray and called for an ambulance,” said Andrew. “They were here in a flash and we are very grateful as it proved to be just in time.”

Arthur Freeman meets the crew who attended him

Paramedic Emma Bareham was first on scene in a single response car from Medway station and she was rapidly backed up by paramedic crew Tony Eyres and David Horne.

“Arthur was clearly very ill,” said Emma. “As soon as I saw him I suspected he was having a heart attack, got him on the floor and started an ECG (electrocardiograph) reading to see exactly what was happening.”

It was while Arthur was having the ECG that he went into a full cardiac arrest and Emma started chest compressions while Tony was administering medications.

“As soon as we saw the ECG it was clear what was happening,” said Tony. “I had already starting giving him medication when he arrested. He was initially still conscious and didn’t appreciate having his chest compressed trying to push Emma off.”

The crew quickly achieved a return to spontaneous circulation and using telemetry to the William Harvey Hospital cardiac unit in Ashford rapidly arranged to take him direct to the PPCI suite to have immediate treatment.

While they were preparing to move him a critical care paramedic crew joined their colleagues at the scene. However, with Arthur already packaged and ready to leave it was less than two hours after his arrest that he was in hospital having stents fitted.

“Fortunately I don’t remember any of this,” Arthur told Emma and Tony when they met up again at Medway station last week, “But one of the outcomes of the chest compressions was having a gallstone moved.” This meant Arthur had another spell in Medway Hospital after becoming ill from the dislodged gallstone.

“We are just so grateful to the ambulance service for all they have done for our family,” said Andrew. “They were regular visitors for my mum Gloria after she started having fits following a stroke and now fortunately they were quickly in the right place when dad had his cardiac arrest. Their timing was impeccable.”

“Too often we only hear of all the negative things about the health service but they have been wonderful in supporting our family. We’re just so pleased to have this opportunity to thank Emma and Tony in person for all they did.”

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