Shining a light on emergency care

The family of a patient who sadly passed away has been reunited with the ambulance crew who tried to save him.

On meeting the crew, the family passed on their donation to help make night-time jobs easier for ambulance teams responding to patients in the dark. 

Mike Peacock, from Billingham, was feeling unwell in the early hours of 3 January this year when he collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest in his garden on the way to his car to be driven to hospital. Sadly, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, Mike could not be saved and passed away with his family around him.

Due to the location and time of day, paramedic Nigel Furmidge, student paramedic Andrew Hill, along with a specialist paramedic who has since left the service, were unable to see clearly in the dark. Mike’s wife Liz and her son Adam used their mobile phone lights, a headlamp and torches to assist the crew.  

At Mike’s funeral, the family asked for donations rather than flowers, instead buying headlamps for the ambulance service. Family, friends and their work colleagues raised £850. Barry Willis from BW Tools rounded that figure up to £1,000 as well as selling the headlamps at cost price when he heard about the cause.

Today, Liz and her sons Adam and Graham, who are Mike’s stepsons, and family friends Nic and Mark Nicholson met Nigel and Andrew to present them with the headlamps.

Liz said: “I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the lady on the end of the phone who was so calm and caring while I was carrying out CPR on my husband until the ambulances arrived and the paramedics took over, I will never forget how kind she was.

“I also want to pass on a heartfelt thank you to all the paramedics and crew who attended and all the efforts they made in attempting to resuscitate Mike. They worked so efficiently and professionally and always kept me and my son informed of what was happening. They showed exceptional care to both my husband, myself and my sons and daughter-in-law Mary-Anne, at all times.

“I will never forget all that they did for Mike and the effort so many people made to try to save him.” 

Liz’s son Adam added: “The crew spent as much time with my mum as they did with Mike. They stayed longer than they needed afterwards to make sure she was ok.”

Nigel, who has worked for NEAS for 20 years added: “It was a difficult situation and wish the outcome has been better. As a crew, you want to give all you can to help.

“I remember that Mike was in cardiac arrest, laying in his back garden.  It was unlit and as a result it made working very difficult. We needed family members to use the lights from their mobile phones and torches from the ambulance to give us light to work. It was a difficult situation and I wish the outcome was better.

“I find it amazing that the family have taken it upon themselves to donate head torches which will help when we find ourselves in a similar situation in the future.”

Andrew, who has been in the service for six years said: “It was great to get a chance to thank them for fundraising for the headlamps and for their assistance that evening. Providing torchlight that night greatly assisted everyone involved.

“The lights will be fantastic and really useful for different jobs.”

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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