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Gillingham woman says heartfelt thanks to ambulance crews

08 July 2016

Geoffrey MbuloA sad reality of working for the ambulance service is that despite all the advances in training and the latest, most modern equipment not every patient can be saved.

On 4 May last year, a week before his 44th birthday, Gillingham business consultant Geoffrey (Geo) Mbulo suddenly collapsed and died despite all the efforts of three crews from South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb).

This week his widow Jacqui plucked up the courage to visit Medway Ambulance Station to say a heartfelt thank you to the crews who did their utmost to revive her husband.

“It was a devastating, shocking blow to the family,” she said. “I am just coming to terms with Geo’s death and wanted to meet and thank the people who worked so hard in trying to help him. It has been a very hard year but I always knew they did everything they could for him and wanted say how much we appreciated their efforts.”

Geo’s death was all the more surprising in that he had been very healthy until his unexpected collapse. He had been complaining of feeling unwell with a sore throat when Jacqui found him burning hot and saying he felt like he was choking in the early hours of the morning.

Within minutes he had collapsed and she called 999 where the Emergency Medical Advisor immediately made it a top priority call and three minutes later the first ambulance was at her door.

Ambulance Technician Kate Foster and Emergency Care Support Worker (ECSW) Mark Wood had been on a meal break at the station close to the house and were first on scene almost immediately supported by Paramedic Angela Cavalier with Technician Michelle Dziedzic and Student Paramedic Tom Doherty.

Despite being shocked by the defibrillator Geo failed to respond and back up arrived from Critical Care Paramedic Craig Whitehead and Emergency Care Support Worker Paul Creese. They continued to attempt to revive Geo for a further 40 minutes.

“It’s always a very hard decision to stop resuscitation, particularly with a young patient,” said Angela. “It was very kind of Jacqui to come in to thank us and show her appreciation with a cake. We just wish there could have been a better outcome.”

Crew

Jacqui said investigations afterwards revealed Geo had had an underlying cardiac condition that he had not been aware of.

She is keen now to start a campaign for young men from Africa to be tested for cardiac disease. Both she and Geo came from Zambia and Geo has been buried in Zambia next to the grave of his mother.

Jacqui also paid tribute to the support she and her daughter Chawanzi got from the crews after Geo’s death and to the support she got from neighbours.

“The local community has been just fantastic supporting me through this awful time,” she said. She also praised her 19-year-old daughter for her remarkable maturity and added: “She was the one who took in what the crews were saying afterwards and she’s been just amazing in helping me get through this.”

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