A relieved wife has spoken of her gratitude after medical crews rushed to help her blind husband who had suffered a heart attack, admitting: ‘Their actions saved his life’.
Catherine Davies praised paramedics from the North East Ambulance Service, as well as a volunteer Community First Responder from Rothbury, who came to the aid of her poorly partner Rob.
The 73-year-old had a heart attack at the couple’s Alnwick home on the morning of Tuesday, October 13, and Catherine, 68, says the quick response to the emergency was vital.
Grandfather Rob has suffered previous heart attacks and has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator fitted.
She said: “I want to say a huge thank-you to our ambulance service people. The First Responder from Rothbury arrived first when my husband had the heart attack and the big ambulance arrived shortly afterwards and their actions saved his life.”
First Responders are volunteers who have been recruited and trained to act on behalf of the ambulance service and Catherine believes last week’s incident shows just how valuable they are.
She said: “Rob woke up in the morning and he was in the most awful agony. The First Responder arrived in about 15 minutes. It demonstrated how valuable First Responders are, because he was a lot nearer than the paramedics, so he got here quicker. When someone is having a heart attack, every second counts. The paramedics arrived shortly afterwards.”
Rob was taken to the new hospital at Cramlington, which Catherine described as awesome, before being operated on at the Freeman in Newcastle. He came home on Friday night in an ambulance car.
Catherine says the experience reinforces the important role that the NHS plays and comes at a time when there has been scrutiny over ambulance response times.
She told the Gazette: “Ambulances have to respond first to emergency shouts and they have to triage it and put the most life-threatening cases first. This is what we have experienced over the years and we have always had a great service from the ambulance teams. We live in a very rural, spread-out county and the crews get to the scene as fast as they can.
“We have had to call the ambulance before and the staff have always been very professional, very caring and very aware of Rob’s needs, considering he is blind. He has had several emergency rides in the last few years and we owe them his life many times over.
“I am very grateful to the NHS. People, and systems, under pressure do make mistakes, but the NHS is the biggest employer in Britain, short-staffed, often misused and under-funded.
“You hear of the times when it went wrong, as it happens to be dealing with people at a critical time in their lives. But these are far outweighed by the excellent, everyday service they provide, that we rarely hear about.
“My sons live in America and it is a different story over there. If you haven’t got any money, it is very difficult to get treatment and there are lots of things that aren’t included in the insurance because it is so expensive.”