Courtesy of Anne Shelley and Mansfield Chad
A paramedic whose actions saved the life of a man who went into heart failure in the back of an ambulance has been reunited with him.
Craig Priestnall, a paramedic based at Kings Mill Ambulance Station, received the call to Brian Elgie, 69, who collapsed at home on the morning of 11 August.
When he arrived, Craig found Brian collapsed at the bottom of the stairs with a head injury, and although he had regained consciousness and appeared in good spirits, Craig was still keen to have him check out at hospital.
But in the back of the ambulance on the way to hospital, Brian lost consciousness again and went into heart failure.
Craig said: “People faint for a reason, and as we had ruled out blood pressure and blood sugar, I was concerned it would be a problem with Brian’s heart.
“I had him hooked up to the heart monitor, so when he collapsed again I looked at that and saw his heart rate drop to 20 beats a minute. He was in heart failure and could go into cardiac arrest.”
Craig called to his colleague who was driving to pull over and stop the ambulance, and he prepared to inject Brian with life-saving drugs to keep his heart going if he went into cardiac arrest.
But Brian recovered again, and quickly looked normal, but thankfully Craig had caught the episode on the heart monitor and so was able to inform the doctors at the hospital. This gave them the evidence they needed to fit Brian with a pacemaker.
Brian’s daughter, Kerry, said that if it wasn’t for Craig, her father may not be with them today.
She said: “If it wasn’t for the fast acting, calm and collective skills of the most wonderful human being, Paramedic Craig, we would never have captured his heart failure on the monitor, never known how fatal Dad’s unknown heart condition actually was and Dad would never have been fitted with a pacemaker the following day."
Brian said: “The paramedics arrived in record time and were absolutely excellent. “I can hardly remember anything but my wife said everything was done that could possibly have been done to help me.
“When I was in the ambulance everything was wired up - it was excellent service and that service continued throughout my whole stay at King’s Mill.
“I want to give Craig my heartfelt thanks because as far as I am concerned he saved my life.”
Craig said that he was overwhelmed to be reunited with Brian.
He said: “It is humbling that Brian and his family are so grateful and it is great to see him looking well again. I’m just so pleased we were able to help him.”