‘Chain of Survival’ saves Barry cardiac victim

The spark was certainly re-kindled for one Barry resident on Independence Day, 4th July this year!

10 days earlier industrial painter 45yr old Nigel Morgan had suffered a heart attack and was home recovering after having a stent fitted when during the day of 4th July his head started twitching and he had a minor convulsion.

His partner, Louise McNeill asked if he needed to go to hospital but he shrugged it off as nothing major.

Later that evening, Nigel got off the settee and took a tray into the kitchen…and that’s as much as he can remember until he came round in the early hours of the following morning at the University of Wales Hospital (UHW) in Cardiff.

“I can’t believe things can happen so suddenly,” said Nigel. “One second I was clearing the tray in the kitchen, next second I’m out cold on the kitchen floor! I have no recollection of anything and everything I know regarding my cardiac arrest has been shared with me by those who saved me.”

Though the actual incident happened to Nigel, the trauma and shock of the event was something his partner Louise had to face:
“We’d had a lovely day. It was my son, Callum’s seventh birthday when all of a sudden Nigel was flat out on the floor, twitching. I immediately picked up the phone, dialled 999 and asked for the ambulance service,” said Louise. “I passed the call-taker the details and as I did I could see Nigel turning blue right in front of me. His eyes were still and he let out a groan and then suddenly there was this immense stillness. I put the phone on speaker and the ambulance call-taker started giving me instructions to perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). She was fantastic and helped me through the process.”

Whilst call-taker Thereza Ross provided CPR instructions over the phone, Barry Community First Responder Bryan Foley was alerted to this call and with quick thinking he contacted CFR Howard Provis who lives in the next street to the incident location. Howard arrived very quickly and took over the CPR and was joined shortly after by CFR Bryan.

“Even though I wasn’t on-call it made sense for Bryan to call me since I live close by,” said Howard. “When Bryan phoned me to tell me about the call I was at the house in seconds and found Louise attempting to resuscitate Nigel. She was doing a great job but was tiring with all the effort and emotion so I continued the CPR until ambulance personnel arrived.”

Rapid Response Vehicle Paramedic Jon Hubbard soon arrived to provide defibrillation for Nigel and after some further CPR Nigel’s heart once more began to give an output. Paramedic Robin Petterson and Technician Jo Paskell were in the area and call-allocator Alison Paul recognised that they were the nearest ambulance crew, and asked them to attend and convey Nigel to the UHW where he went on to make a full recovery.

The team of two paramedics, one technician, one call-taker, one call-allocator and two Community First Responders were recently awarded the Highly Commended category of the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Gail Williams Award for their co-ordinating efforts during the incident.

Paramedic Jon Hubbard commented: “This was a wonderful example of the ‘chain of survival’ at work. From early contact with the ambulance service to the call-taker providing CPR instructions, then the CFRs supporting before I arrived to give defibrillation, and then the call-allocator finding a crew close by to take the patient to hospital. It all worked so well and we were able to give Nigel the pest possible chance of survival.”

Cardiff City and Wales supporter Nigel added; “Even though I can remember nothing about the events of that night I can’t thank Louise, the Welsh Ambulance Service staff and volunteers enough. They’ve given me a chance to live a while longer…and hopefully see a few more Cardiff City and Wales matches! Louise and Callum have been fantastic looking after me. Callum’s handprint is still on the window where he was waving bye bye as I went off in the ambulance after the heart attack in June…so I think we’ve all had enough traumas for the time being!”

The Welsh Ambulance Service are holding a 4-day Community First Responder training course in Barry on the weekends of 13/14 October, 20/21 October. If anyone is interested in joining the course and becoming a CFR, please contact Barry CFR Co-ordinator Bryan Foley on 07734 744861 before 5th October.


7 Nov 2012 16:01