8 November 2016 - Life-Saving Emergency Team Reunite with Champion Disability Gymnast

Natasha CoatesRespiratory arrest survivor and disability gymnast, Natasha Coates paid a very special visit to North West Ambulance Service’s (NWAS) Emergency Operations Centre last week to be reunited with the emergency team who saved her life just three months ago.

Inspirational 21-year-old from Warrington, Natasha suffers from a very rare condition called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome meaning that she has severe allergic reactions to almost anything including changes in temperature, smells, chemicals, certain foods and even exercise!

Developing the condition in 2013, Natasha has used over 250 EpiPens and learnt to manage the illness at home the best she can, however in August of this year things took a turn for the worse and an emergency, but very calm, call was made to 999 answered by Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Gail Fogg.

Emergency crews rushed to Natasha’s house as she had developed chest pain, felt uneasy and her tongue had begun to swell. First on scene in a Rapid Response Vehicle was Paramedic, Leon White along with Student Paramedic, Natalie Gardner who worked with Natasha’s family to stabilise her condition before the ambulance arrived.

Ambulance crew made up of Paramedic, James Owens and Emergency Medical Technician, Peter Taylor took over care as they travelled to Warrington General Hospital. During the journey, Natasha deteriorated significantly, suffering from a seizure followed by a respiratory arrest which the crew, along with Natasha’s boyfriend who is also an NWAS Paramedic, again managed to stabilise before pulling up at the hospital.

Just 27 hours later, Natasha was discharged from hospital and just four weeks later competed in the Disability Gymnastics British Championships where she was named all round British Champion for the third year running.

Speaking about the incident, Natasha said: “I'm really aware that, had the crew not been so proactive, then it could have ended completely differently so it was amazing to be able to meet them again and show them my medals!”

During the emotional reunion, Natasha thanked the emergency team for their life-saving efforts that day and was given a guided tour around the Emergency Operations Centre learning how 999 calls are handled by the Trust.

Paramedic, James Owens said: “I was really pleased when I heard Natasha wanted to meet up with us as I remember the incident extremely well. I particularly remember how calm the whole family stayed during what was such a traumatic situation which really helped us to quickly learn about the condition and give Natasha the right care.

“After meeting Natasha again, we were all in awe of her spirit, confidence and positive outlook on life, something which is very humbling.”

Due to her condition, Natasha has had to give up her dream of becoming a paramedic but not one to dwell on the negatives, she has since been working hard to raise awareness of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, most recently taking over the @NHS Twitter account for the week giving daily updates on her condition to over 6,000 followers and is now looking to write a book!