Sussex man who suffered a cardiac arrest at home just under a year
ago has been reunited with some of the ambulance team who helped
save his life.

Des Crockford, now 50, collapsed at his Southwick home in the
early hours of 30 May 2016. His daughters, Jade and Georgia now 21
and 18, were woken by their dog, Brooke, who was restless, and
while dealing with her, discovered their dad in bed making strange
noises, unconscious and not breathing.

The pair acted quickly by dialling 999 and followed the
instructions provided by the Emergency Medical Advisor. Jade, who
is studying Medical Sciences at Exeter University and currently on
placement at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, began chest
compressions – a vital action – in the minutes before the ambulance
crews arrived.

Des, who has gone on to make a remarkable recovery, and Jade met
recently with two of the SECAmb team, Ambulance Technician, Colin
Fox and Critical Care Paramedic Richard Crabb, to thank them for
their and their colleagues’ efforts.

Colin was first to arrive on scene with crew mate Charles
Garnham. Together they continued Jade’s CPR efforts and were able
to restart Des’s heart by delivering a shock with a

“We were travelling on the Shoreham flyover on our way to
another job when we were stood down to attend Des,” said Colin. “It
was close to the end of a 12-hour shift. Jade’s actions were vital
as they ensured we had a chance of saving her dad.”

Colin and Charles were soon joined by Richard and Paramedic
Practitioner Katie Moorman and the team set about stabilising

However, with Des’s room located in a loft conversion with steep
stairs, the team had to call for the assistance of East Sussex Fire
and Rescue Service. This meant Des could be expertly lifted out of
the loft window while still lying flat in order to not impact on
his fluctuating blood pressure.

With the complicated exit negotiated, Des was taken to Royal
Sussex County Hospital with his daughters, and wife Michelle, who
had rushed back from working nights, following behind.

Des’s expert treatment continued in hospital and he was fitted
with an internal defibrillator a little over a week later. Weeks of
rehab and three months off work followed as he recovered. He has
since returned to work as a civil servant and also to his love of

“My recovery has gone very well,” said Des. “I’m back at work
and back cycling. I’m being sensible but physically I’m starting to
feel as fit as I did before my cardiac arrest.

“Emotionally it’s been hard on all of us and I can’t imagine
what Jade was thinking having to do CPR on me. It’s a debt I’ll
never be able to repay. It’s been hard but we’ve faced it all as a
family and we’re looking forward to going away on holiday soon. I’m
really pleased we have been able to say thank you in person.”

Jade, who is hoping to specialise in cardiology said: “I’ve been
trained in CPR but obviously it was difficult and very different
having to perform it on a member of your own family. I’m just so
grateful for everything everyone did.”

Richard Crabb paid tribute to the quick thinking of the sisters
and added: “All credit to the girls. Their actions made all the
difference. It’s great to see that Des has come full circle. His
recovery is amazing. It was also great to see a patient in much
better circumstances and on behalf of the whole team I wish him and
family all the best for the future.”