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Cardiac arrest survivor thanks crews in Valentine’s Day reunion

25 February 2019

Stephen and ambulance crewA West Sussex man who suffered a cardiac arrest has been reunited with the ambulance crews who helped saved his life a year and a day after his collapse.

Stephen Massingham, 61, from Goring, attended Worthing Ambulance Station on Valentine’s Day to personally thank the team. Stephen, a truck driver for 40 years, met crews along with family and friends including son James, who began CPR on his dad prior to the ambulance crew’s arrival.

Stephen, who had been sent home from work feeling unwell on 13 February 2018, collapsed in front of James later that evening. James acted immediately by calling 999 and following CPR instructions.

“I just did what I was told and had to do,” said James. “It was a relief when the crews arrived. They did an amazing job.”

First on scene, in less than four minutes, was paramedic Laura-Jean Oliver and crewmate John Pollard. The pair took over the resuscitation from James and were quickly joined by colleagues, paramedic, Gareth Jones, emergency care support worker, Sheenagh Hughes and then student paramedic, Christine Cannon.

The team worked together to provide Stephen with the expert help he required including delivering a shock with a defibrillator to restart his heart.

Laura-Jean said: “James did a great job and his actions ensured his dad was given the best possible chance of survival. It was great to meet with everyone again.”

Further assistance arrived in the form of Critical Care Paramedic Dave Priest who was working with now newly-qualified paramedic Rebecca Lemon.

Dave said: “All the hard work happened before I arrived. What is of vital importance is that the basics of resuscitation carried out by James had taken place. Bystander CPR is absolutely key. My colleagues then worked really well as a team to resuscitate Stephen. The additional critical care I can provide is not possible without the work of others first. Everyone did a great job and it makes me feel very proud. On behalf of the whole team I wish Stephen and his family all the very best for the future.”

Stephen was taken to Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where he underwent immediate treatment to have stents fitted before being discharged 10 days later.

Since then he has lost more than 50 kilograms in weight and has quit smoking. He presented the team with a plaque to thank them for their efforts.

Stephen said: “Quite simply, without the ambulance crews I wouldn’t be here. I’m also, of course, so grateful to James. I can’t remember anything after my collapse through to waking up in hospital, where they also did a really good job. It’s been really good to thank everyone in person for their part in ensuring I’m here today. I’ll never forget what they did for me.”

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