13 August 2015 - Calm Call Handler Praised

Call Handler Praised

A North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) emergency call hander has been praised for her ‘calm voice’ that enabled Janet Thatcher to help save the life of her husband Ron while he was having a cardiac arrest at their home in Lostock, Bolton.

Janet had heard her husband collapse with a loud bump in the early hours of the morning after he had earlier complained of what he thought was indigestion. She found her husband on the floor and immediately called 999 which was answered by Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) Sara McDonnell.

Janet Thatcher said: “I was absolutely frantic but the call was answered so quickly by this marvellously calm voice where not one word was wasted and she talked and guided me through performing CPR.

“I had done some first aid and CPR training before as I am a retired teacher, however it’s all slightly different when it’s your husband. To have that reassuring voice on the line really helped me focus on what needed to be done.

“I had lost track of time of how long I was doing the compressions, but just as I was feeling that I couldn’t go on much longer there was a knock at the door and the paramedic arrived and took over.”

Ron was taken to Royal Bolton Hospital and then onto Manchester Royal Infirmary and following surgery he is now on the road to recovery.

Janet spoke of her joy at seeing her husband dance at their son’s wedding:  “We recently attended a ceilidh to celebrate our son’s wedding and I know that all family weddings are special, but this one was particularly so as without the excellent service from Sara and the paramedics my husband would not have survived to attend the celebrations.”

It’s not often that EMDs get to find out what happens to their callers after they hang up but Janet and Ron got in touch with the Trust and met with Sara McDonnell to thank her in person for helping them.

Sara said: “It’s great to feel appreciated and that I was able to make a difference to help Janet and Ron that evening but it’s just part of my everyday job. It was lovely to meet them both and to find out that Ron is now making a full recovery.”