11th May 2020
A MAN who suffered a heart attack and then full cardiac arrest whilst self-isolating has spoken of his gratitude for the Welsh Ambulance Service paramedics who came to his aid.
Mazhar Farid, 49, was in Coronavirus isolation at his parents’ house in Newport on April 17 when he began feeling pain in his chest, shoulders and arms.
Mr Farid, a director of a building surveying firm, said: “The pain was getting worse quickly and began to feel heavy.
“I phoned the ambulance myself and made my way outside to protect my parents from seeing what was happening to me.
“Every movement was painful and ‘This is it’ I thought to myself.”
Cwmbran and Bassaleg based paramedics Hayley Cowling and Abigail Knock arrived on scene to find Mr Farid outside stumbling in the rain.
He said: “They gestured me to stay where I was, as they donned their protective equipment.
“They told me they needed me inside the house and sat down so they could asses me.”
It was clear to Hayley and Abigail from their observations that Mr Farid needed urgent hospital treatment.
Hayley, who has worked for the service for eight years, said: “There was a steep set of stairs in front of the house and we feared what might happen if he exerted himself on the stairs.
“When we visit a cardiac case, often the patient has a greying and pale complexion and we knew something was badly wrong.”
Once safely inside the ambulance and en route to Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales, Mr Farid’s condition took a dramatic turn for the worse.
“I was laid down in the ambulance and in so much pain I felt I couldn’t hang on,” he said.
“And then, I was gone. I woke up in the hospital.”
Abigail had got Mr Farid’s heart started again with manual CPR and a shock from a defibrillator. She was later joined by paramedic colleague Ian Corten for support as they approached the hospital.
Mr Farid had immediate emergency surgery and a stent was fitted into one of his heart valves.
He said: “It wasn’t until the next morning when the surgeon came to see me and explained my heart had stopped in the ambulance did I have a moment of clarity, a realisation that Hayley and Abi really helped save my life that day.
“If they hadn’t have been there, I would have been in a box.
“I am so grateful to them.”
Mr Farid is now safely back at home and making a good recovery.
He was discharged from hospital after just three nights.
He will remain on medication indefinitely but one day hopes to get back to his hobby of running.
Meeting his paramedic saviours wasn’t feasible because of social distancing measures, but thanks to modern technology he was able to personally thank the pair in a video call.
On the video call, he said: “You do an amazing thing and I can’t think of a nobler profession.
“You are first responders. If you don’t do what you do, there is no second phase. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Abigail said: “Just you being here today talking to us is the biggest thank you.”
Making an important point, Hayley explained to Mr Farid how they were able to arrive so swiftly.
“Due mostly to the Covid-19 pandemic, people are now using 999 and the ambulance service as they should,” she said.