06 Feb 2015 - "Without them, I wouldn't be here": Lancashire man reunites with life-saving PTS staff after 'rare emergency'

A grandfather-of-two has praised Patient Transport Service (PTS) staff from the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) NHS Trust for their part in saving his life after suffering a cardiac arrest.

David Turner, right, met with PTS crew member Marica Harking, centre, who helped save his life. His wife Hazel, left, has praised all those involved

David Turner, 74, was walking in Knott End, Lancashire, when he collapsed. Members of the public flagged down a passing PTS vehicle and began Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

When PTS crew Marica Hacking and Paul Minns attended to David, local squash club owner Lyn Bradley rushed with the venue’s Automated External Defibrillator (AED). As the crew cleared David’s airways and continued with CPR, Lyn gave David three electric shocks following the step-by-step instructions on the device. Statistics show that quick intervention with an AED increase the chance of survival by up to 80 per cent.

The ambulance then arrived on scene as the PTS staff began to see signs of David making attempts to breathe on his own. With the help of the ambulance crew, he was taken to hospital for further tests. David, who is now home recovering from triple heart bypass surgery, said: “Without everyone’s help, I wouldn’t be here today. I normally walk to Knott End and exercise several times a week. I was very lucky that everyone was so helpful and the community spirit was fantastic. The fact the squash club had an AED close by meant I was able to receive treatment quickly and, ultimately, saved my life.”

PTS crew members transport patients to and from pre-booked hospital and clinical appointments and are not sent to attend to emergency incidents. “It is not often that we attend to emergency incidents as we are a service that provides patient transfers across the region,” explained PTS crew member Marica. “Sometimes we may assist in large jobs were extra resources are required but we don’t receive emergency 999 calls like this. But it was very fortunate that we were in the right place, at the right time to help David and it is fantastic to meet up with him again. There is a strong community spirit in Knott End and we were made very aware of that on the day of this incident as everyone played their part in caring for him.”

David’s wife Hazel, 66, believes it should be compulsory for AEDs to be in every area. She said: “I am thankful to everyone who played their part in saving my husband’s life. The quick reaction of everyone in helping David is why he is still here today. It should be compulsory for AEDs to be placed in public places.”

Mark Evans, Community Resuscitation Manager for Lancashire said: “It is always fantastic to hear of a positive outcome from the use of an AED. For every one minute someone is in cardiac arrest, their chances of survival drop by 15 per cent but the use of an AED so quickly on Mr Turner would have improved his survival chances.”

NWAS is currently leading on a project that was launched last week at the House of Commons in collaboration with Andy Burnham MP. The project aims to make it compulsory to place AEDs in all public places and is striving to make it compulsory for school leavers to know crucial life-saving skills such as CPR.

Mark added: “David’s story is an example of an incredible success whilst using one of these machines and they can be used by as the device takes you through the steps of how to use it appropriately. It will only shock the patient if it detects an irregular heart rhythm and will not shock unless it needs to.”

For more information on how to purchase an AED and receive training, contact Mark Evans at Mark.Evans@nwas.nhs.uk.