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Newport woman who performed CPR on husband thanks Welsh Ambulance Service team for saving his life

A NEWPORT woman who performed CPR on her husband after he stopped breathing has thanked the ‘angels in green’ who saved his life.

Sarah Lightbody was getting ready for work at her home in Rogerstone one morning, when she noticed her husband Yule was snoring unusually loudly in bed.

After checking on him, she soon realised he had gone into cardiac arrest and dialled 999.

Sarah, who work as a security operations manager, was then talked through performing CPR by Welsh Ambulance Service call handler Lucy Fisher before an ambulance arrived.

She said: “I called 999 and spoke to the call handler, who gave me advice. It was quite frightening as he was a dead weight, so I couldn’t get him on the floor. He had no previous history or warning.

“They encouraged me to get the sheet under him and pull it towards the edge of the bed to try and get him onto the floor, so I did that and performed CPR for a few minutes.

“I was still in my dressing gown when the ambulance crew arrived and they encouraged me to get dressed and make sure our dog was safe so the second crew could come in.”

Ambulance crew Lisa Challingsworth and Claire Snow arrived within three minutes of Sarah’s call and continued performing CPR, before delivering two shocks with a defibrillator to restore the 61-year-old’s heart rhythm.

They were then supported by colleagues Mike Cashman and Kate Jones in a second ambulance.

Emergency Medical Technician Claire, who has been with the ambulance service for 14 years, said: “When we first got there Sarah was doing CPR and obviously quite distressed.

“We carried on doing CPR straight away and actually got a rhythm back after we shocked Yule twice.

“The second crew helped us get him down the stairs and into the ambulance, it wasn’t a long journey to hospital.

“I was driving and Sarah was in the front with me, so I was trying to reassure her because she was absolutely beside herself, as you can imagine.”

The former sergeant major was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital, where he was immediately moved to the resuscitation area, before being admitted to the intensive care unit.

Yule spent three months in hospital in total, including ten days in intensive care and a further ten in the high dependency unit.

He underwent an angioplasty procedure to widen an obstructed artery, as well as having a stent fitted to improve the flow of blood round his heart.

Yule and Sarah, who have been married for 11 years, were reunited with Lisa and Claire as they made several visits to check on him.

It wasn’t the last time they’d meet either, as the crew were called to their house again approximately a month after he was discharged.

Sarah said: “A few days after he was first admitted, Lisa and Claire came into intensive care when they were coming off shift to see how he was doing.

“They came on the ward once or twice to get an update and a couple of months later I had cause to call the service again.

“It just came out of the blue. He’d been fine the day before, but the following morning woke up and had a high temperature and was shaking uncontrollably. He had all the indicators of sepsis.

“Imagine my surprise when both Claire and Lisa appeared at the door for a second time. As soon as they came in I knew he was in safe hands, they truly are angels in green.”

Fortunately Yule, who has four children from a previous marriage and four grandchildren, only spent a few days in hospital and recovered after taking antibiotics.

He’s now home undergoing both cardiac and neurological therapy, after sustaining a brain injury as a result of losing oxygen to the brain during his cardiac arrest.

However Sarah, who met Yule 17 years ago when he retired from the army to become a facilities manager, said his short term memory is beginning to improve and he’s able to go out and meet friends.

She said: “We have good days and bad days. Yule’s short term memory was badly affected, but he’s slowly getting better and remembering things he did the day before, whereas before he couldn’t.

“He’s never had any difficulty remembering people though, he knows who we all are, which is quite nice. He remembers all his grandchildren and their ages.

“He goes out with his friends for a pint and goes up to the gym at the local leisure centre as part of the cardiac rehabilitation programme.

“I will never be able to put into words, or truly able to express my thanks and gratitude to the wonderful paramedics who brought my husband back and got him swiftly to the Royal Gwent, where the incredible A&E staff, intensive care consultants and doctors and nurses worked their magic.

“We get a lot of support from the Gwent Community Neuro-Rehabilitation Team as well, they’ve been absolutely phenomenal.”

Claire, who’s based at Bassaleg Ambulance Station said: “Sarah was very thankful and appreciated everything we did, she’s a lovely lady.

“Whenever we went to see Yule, she would explain who we were and was very appreciative. She also took a couple of pictures of us with him.

“We went out to him again when he had an infection. We recognised the address straight away, but fortunately he wasn’t as ill the second time.”

Calls where a patient is unconscious and has stopped breathing, are categorised as RED under the Welsh Ambulance Service’s new clinical response model, the Trust aims to get to at least 65 per cent of these calls in less than eight minutes.

The Trust is also measured on whether the patient’s heart is restarted following resuscitation (this is called a return of spontaneous circulation or ROSC) for cardiac arrest patients as part of the Emergency Ambulance Service Committee’s Ambulance Quality Indicators.

Director of Operations Richard Lee said: “Every second counts when somebody is in cardiac arrest and Sarah’s actions in dialling 999 and beginning CPR in what would have been a very distressing situation for her, was the first step that led to her husband’s life being saved.

“It was then thanks to our call handler, allocator, ambulance crews and hospital staff that Yule was able to make it through and we send him our heartfelt best wishes for his ongoing recovery.”

Notes to editors

PICTURED: Yule Lightbody (centre) is reunited with Lisa Challingsworth (left) and Claire Snow (right) who helped to save his life when he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Figures released today show there were 2,207 RED emergency incidents in January.

We reached 69.6% of RED calls within eight minutes, 74.9% within nine minutes and 79.9% within 10 minutes.

You can view the data in full by visiting Welsh Government’s StatsWales website.

Keep abreast of news and updates by following the Welsh Ambulance Service on Twitter @WelshAmbulance and on Facebook: Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust.

For more information regarding this press release, please call Communications Officer Liam Randall on 01745 532511 or 07841 840 632 or email Liam.Randall@wales.nhs.uk


19 Apr 2018 10:16




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