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

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.”

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

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.”