Oundle heart attack victim thanks lifesaver

Community first responder Paul Brackley (centre) came to the rescue of Ann Lowry when she had a heart attack at home. Also pictured (left to right) are community resuscitation trainer Tracy Battley, first responder Louise Bannerjee and Ann's husband Bob

Community first responder Paul Brackley (centre) came to the rescue of Ann Lowry when she had a heart attack at home. Also pictured (left to right) are community resuscitation trainer Tracy Battley, first responder Louise Bannerjee and Ann's husband Bob

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A woman has thanked a neighbour who came to her aid after she suffered a heart attack at home.

Ann Lowry, from Oundle, called a doctor when she suffered a sudden shortness of breath at her home in Springfield Road in the town last year.

The doctor then called 999, believing Ann, at the time aged 74, was suffering a heart attack.

But before paramedics could arrive on the scene and within minutes of Ann’s original call – neighbour Paul Brackley had arrived.

Paul, 48, a community first responder, is trained to carry out emergency first aid and, being based in the community, is often able to provide care to patients more quickly.

At the time of the incident, Ann and Paul lived on the same street, ensuring he arrived in double-quick time.

Ann, originally from County Durham, said: “I was outside the house waiting for a car to go to a funeral and it was quite lucky I escaped my own.

“Paul arrived at my house within minutes of my doctor calling 999. I didn’t realise until later that he lived down the road.

“He did some observations and was so professional making me feel instantly calm which also helped with my breathing difficulties.

“When I got to hospital they said I had suffered a heart attack and told me that I was very lucky that I didn’t go into full cardiac arrest. I feel like I owe everything to Paul for helping me on that day.

“I think it’s a great thing. It’s a rewarding thing to do – it certainly was in my case.

“I am really grateful he was there. I might not be here talking if he wasn’t there with his little bag.”

As well as being the co-ordinator of the scheme in Oundle, Paul is also head porter at Oundle School.

The scheme, which has been running for 11 years, is made up of nine volunteers who give up their own time to be on-call with East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Paul said: “I have been responding with the scheme for 11 years and have helped lots of people during that time.

“When Ann made contact with the scheme to say thank you it was really touching to know that someone I had helped was alive and well partly thanks to the response I provided.”

Get involved and help others

The scheme has recently been given an ambulance-branded vehicle by EMAS. Mick Barnett-Connolly, head of community first response, said: “In addition to the medical kit that’s carried, it’s been fitted with new communications equipment such as a two-way radio, telephone, hands-free kit and satellite navigation system.

“These will all streamline the response process leading to vital seconds being shaved off the time taken to respond to life-threatening incidents.”

Tracy Battley added: “With the geographical area you never know where the ambulance will be coming from.”

Tracy helps people who want to sign up to be a first responder to find their local group, or set one up. Anyone who is interested can contact EMAS in the first instance.