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Kent man reunited with lifesavers

06 January 2020

Garry and teamA man, who collapsed in cardiac arrest, enjoyed a Christmas reunion with the ambulance team who came to his aid.

Garry Henderson, 55, from Shorne, near Gravesend, Kent, was reunited with his life-saving team recently at Medway ambulance station in Chatham following his collapse at home on 6 September 2018.

Garry, along with his partner, Sue and brother, Simon, met with Critical Care Paramedic, Dave Hawkins, Operational Team Leader, Alexandra Hemsley, ambulance crew Daisy Vickery and Adrian Biles as well as 999 call taker, Nick O’Doherty.

And now Garry is keen to spread the message of the importance that people learn CPR and other life-saving skills and urged people to listen to the potential warning signs of suffering a heart attack.

Garry, had unknowingly at the time, suffered a heart attack in June 2018. Having not acted on the signs, he attended a doctor’s appointment four days later and was subsequently fitted with two stents, having been informed he had suffered a heart attack.

Garry and DaveThe subsequent collapse in September 2018 saw him spend close to five weeks at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford in an induced coma and recovering having received further emergency treatment and having been fitted with an internal defibrillator.

Garry’s expert hospital treatment followed quick thinking of partner Sue in calling 999 while CPR was provided at the scene by a members of staff from a nearby nursery, Claire and Sam, and a GP, Dr Adaji from Shorne medical practice.

Dave said: “The chain of survival started with Sue speaking to Nick on the phone. Help was quickly sought, and it was so critical that Garry was given CPR prior to our arrival. It takes a team to save a life and everyone worked really well together. We shocked Garry’s heart twice to return it to a normal rhythm before heading off to the William Harvey for Garry to undergo emergency treatment.”

Garry remembers nothing of his ordeal but was quick to praise the team on an emotional reunion. “It feels like the stars aligned for me so that everything was in place that day”, he said. “I’m so grateful for everything everyone did. From Nick at the end of the phone, to the GP and nursery staff to the whole team and my subsequent treatment in hospital. It was very emotional but it was lovely to see everyone in person to properly thank them.

“I know in hindsight I should have listened to my body more rather than wait four days to see my GP. I’d urge people to take the warning signs seriously and ourselves and our friends and family know first hand how vital it is for people to learn how to save a life.”

Sue added: “I know I wasn’t very patient with Nick on the phone and so it was really nice to be able to apologise and to meet everyone in better circumstances. Thank you to everyone involved in ensuring we’re together this Christmas.”

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