We are delighted to confirm Lancaster Ambulance crew Mark Wiley and Hayley Duxbury has been chosen as North West regional winners for the Care and Compassion award.
In February 2019 the Smith family’s world came crashing down when their son Billy became critically ill with sepsis. Mark and Hayley were sent to help Billy and on seeing him, they knew his condition was life-threatening. They suspected he had sepsis and began to treat him and took him to hospital where he almost lost his fight for life.
Ambulance crews save lives on a daily basis, but the stand out factor about this particular incident is that not only was Billy seriously ill, he also has Down Syndrome (DS). When it comes to somebody who has DS, challenges can arise in terms of communication barriers which can be unique to each individual. If you ask Mark and Hayley they’d say ‘they were just doing their job’ but to the family they have done more than that – they have changed their lives forever.
Billy’s mum explained how difficult it can be to communicate with children/teenagers/adults who have DS, especially in a medical setting. In Billy’s instance, he had been in and out of hospital all his life and had grown particularly wary of male health professionals as they reminded him of hospitals. According to Billy’s mum, Billy doesn’t like anybody fussing over him or anything near his face or arms – a challenge in itself.
This is where Mark and Hayley came into their own, they talked to Billy, reassured him and got on a level with him in which he felt safe and built an amazing rapport with Billy. Once Billy knew he was safe he forgot his fears and started to do hi-fives with Mark and really get on a level to connect with him, which enabled Hayley to administer treatment and make clinical decisions. It was this action that saved his life.
Their work and actions have had such a positive, life changing impact on the Smith family; mum Sheila, dad Ian and sister Megan have described Mark and Hayley as ‘angels’ and believe that without their intervention and the way that they cared for Billy, Billy would not be here today.
We featured Mark and Hayley’s life-saving story in the trust’s winter 2019 campaign to positively promote emergencies to reinforce when it’s appropriate to call 999. The campaign was also designed to engage staff and show them that they are appreciated by the public for the work they do.
This story helped to fly the flag for Billy and Down syndrome and well as giving reassurance to the public that the trust cares and embraces all differences positively. Having a child with special or specific needs can be a challenge and when that child needs medical intervention from a stranger, this can be distressing for the child. By showcasing this story, we hopes it will go some way to alleviate any concerns parents or carers may have when requesting emergency medical assistance.
On receiving the award, Mark said: “Hayley and I are honoured to receive this recognition on behald of all ambulance staff, for the care and compassion that goes on across the whole North West.”
Mark and Hayley’s award will go head to head with all other regional winners at a ceremony in Parliament in July 2021. Congratulation to both of them and wish them luck in the overall awards.