A 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

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

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

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.”

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

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.”