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Case Study - George Meddes
67 year-old George of Murton, Sunderland wanted to meet and thank Ryhope based ambulance staff Dave Fenwick and Karen Earl who treated George.
George said: "I took my wife Irene to Ryhope Hospital for a routine check up and as I waited for the nurses to see to her, I thought to myself how lucky I was to be fit and well and to have never been ill in my life. I then began to feel an unusual bubbling feeling in my chest. It was like a kettle boiling and it wouldn't switch off, it was getting so strong I thought my heart was trying to jump out of my chest."
"Irene came out of her appointment and called for the nurses who came to my aid. All I can remember as they helped me off the chair onto the floor was someone shouting "Get the paramedics, get the paramedics" and someone else saying "There's no pulse!"
George also added: "I thought it was important to thank them formally, as ambulance staff are often in the background and nobody really thinks about them until they need them. The work they do on a daily basis as part of their jobs is phenomenal."
Dave who has been with the trust for 33 years said: "We were called to George who was experiencing severe chest pain, and we undertook a 12 lead ECG outside Ryhope Hospital to find out more about his condition. The tests we did showed that he was suffering from a myocardial infarction, which basically means that the blood supply to his heart was interrupted, in this case caused by a blockage in the artery leading to his heart.
"We were transferring him to the Freeman Hospital, I was driving and Karen was in the back taking care of George. We had just gotten into the Tyne Tunnel when Karen shouted back that he had arrested. I stopped the vehicle and had to get out in the tunnel, once I got into the back, Karen had George ready to be defibrillated and he was successfully resuscitated after just one shock."
Karen, a 35 year old Paramedic who has worked for the North East Ambulance Service for three years said: "George had no previous history of any medical problems so was quite distressed when he fell ill. After we got him into the ambulance and administered some pain relief, he was sitting upright and talking to me throughout the journey, but just as we entered the tunnel his condition deteriorated.
"The reason we had to stop in the tunnel is because there is only a short window of opportunity during which the patient's heart is in a shockable rhythm. It's unsafe to for us to do it on the move and if we'd waited until we came out the other side of the tunnel, George may not have been so lucky.
"I was so pleased we were able to resuscitate him and to hear that he's made a full recovery. It's nice to get feedback from patients, as we don't often hear from them after treatment, especially when the feedback is as glowing as George's was."
In a letter that George wrote before meeting his lifesavers he said:
"All I can remember is saying to Karen 'Please do something for me' and by golly she certainly did. The testimony is I am able to write this letter to you both.
The nurse who was looking after me told me that you had to stop en route to resuscitate me, in the middle of the TYNE TUNNEL! I know your first priority is for your patient but it takes a lot of guts and determination to make that decision for which I am very very grateful.
The fact that you got to me, took me to the Freeman Hospital where I was taken straight to the operating theatre, had my operation and was back on the coronary care unit all in the space of 75 minutes is absolutely fantastic. I hope you continue with all of the very good work you do for us normal, average people. Your life long friend."
It is always nice for our staff to hear what their work means to members of the public. Whether you've had a particularly cheery Patient Transport service driver who's made your day or you want to thank the crew who saved your life. We'd love to hear about it.
If your story is particularly exciting, we may even ask if you want to meet the crew and have your photo taken with the local paper to help us spread the word about the good work the ambulance service does.
Of course you would be under no obligation to do this and even if you want to remain anonymous we'd still love to hear from you and pass on your thanks.
We receive thanks for all sorts of things from baby deliveries, heart attacks, or in cases of extreme trauma. George Meddes is just one such patient, who wanted to thank the crew that saved his life when he suffered a heart attack.
If you want to make a compliment about your contact with the North East Ambulance Service you can fill in the form below or email email@example.com
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