“Heart Drama in Field – Walker airlifted to Hospital”
An Easter story
On Monday of Easter Week, at 12.47 a woman appears at our door, utterly distraught. “Get the ambulance. My friend’s collapsed in the field.”
Some of us go back down with her, including a visitor who was a nurse and had been a first aid instructor. Then a woman walking her dog arrives, sent to us by the woman with the pushchair, who I had asked without preamble “are you a first aider?” and had passed it on . . She too was a first aider.
By the time the rapid response man arrives a couple of minutes later, the casualty was in recovery position and had been sick. He finishes clearing her airway, and gives her oxygen. She was getting shocks from her implanted defibrillator, visibly painful, so he gave morphine too.
The ambulance arrived, they bring a stretcher and more technology including a heart monitor into the field. Our visitor later says that she could see that her heart was flat-lining, only the defibrillator was keeping her alive.
The medics conclude that they have to bring in an air ambulance and call it in. We scan the horizon, and eventually see a dot. The dot grows, and straight as an arrow over the hills the helicopter comes in and lands.
The new arrivals are briefed and the medics decide what to do and which drugs to administer before she is stretchered into the helicopter and airlifted away to hospital. I find the seamless intervention of so many people acting together as a trained team inspirational.
It is left to the community to provide tea and biscuits to the rapid response man and the ambulance crew as they clean and stow all their kit. We comfort the friend, who is in shock, and the dog walker offers to take her to the hospital to be with her friend.
She had had the implanted defibrillator for six years and this was the first time it had ever had to function, the first time she had collapsed. It kicked in over 60 times, each time bringing her back to life.