Never too late to say thank you

Never too late to say thank you

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Left to right- Paramedics Mark Carne , Steve Pratten, 999 call handler Debbie Gray, Tracey McPhee, commitee members Sue and Debbie, Communications Officer Kirsty Latham and Brewers Faye Manager Mark Reed

A mother and father who tragically lost their nine-year-old daughter in 2010 have provided 12 community public access defibrillators for the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area.

Laura McPhee, from Grimsby sadly died in December 2010 after she suffered a cardiac arrest at her home brought on by a severe asthma attack.

Following Laura’s death her mother, Tracey and father, Rob, started the Laura McPhee Memorial Fund in her memory. The charity has raised over £90,000 to provide medical equipment that will impact on local children’s lives, in partnership with Northern Lincolnshire and Goole’s Diana Princess of Wales Hospital and East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Working with Grimsby Paramedic Steve Pratten, the charity has placed 12 Community Public Access Defibrillators (CPAD) in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area.

A defibrillator is an electrical device that provides an electric shock to a patient whose heart has stopped beating and is in cardiac arrest; this shock can help restore the hearts normal rhythm, potentially saving a person’s life.

When a 999 call comes into the ambulance control room a series of questions are asked including; Is the patient breathing? Is the patient conscious? If the answer to these questions is no, then the patient is identified as being in cardiac arrest. If there is a defibrillator within a 500m of the caller, they will be directed to the cabinet and given the code to access the machine. The defibrillator then talks the user through the instructions to be able to provide a shock to the patient.

We aim to send an ambulance to a patient in cardiac arrest as quickly as possible. Bystander Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation can buy a patient valuable time while waiting for an ambulance response to arrive and provide advanced life support care.

Steve Pratten said: “For every minute a patient is in cardiac arrest without defibrillation, their chances of survival decreases by 10%.

“These defibrillators placed by the Laura McPhee Memorial Fund are an excellent addition to the ones already placed in the area to ensure that somebody is never too far away from one should they need it.”

In 2010 the country was experiencing one of the heaviest snows falls in history.

Following Tracey’s 999 call our crews battled with the elements to reach Laura and transport her to hospital, with Paramedic Lisa Hall arriving on scene by foot. The snow delayed our ambulance crew arriving at Laura as quickly as possible.

Ambulance crew; Mark Carne and Simon Usher from Grimsby Ambulance Station transported Laura in a 4X4 vehicle to another ambulance that was able to get Laura to Diana Princess of Wales Hospital.

Despite every body’s efforts, Laura passed away, but Tracey and Rob have never forgot everybody’s actions and the support they received.

Today Tracey and Debbie and Sue, members of the Memorial Fund committee, were able to pass their thanks onto 999 call taker, Debbie Gray, who supported them over the telephone and Paramedic Mark Carne.

Debbie said: “We all remember certain jobs that will stick with us forever, for me one of them is Tracey’s call for Laura and every year on the run up to Christmas I think about the family.

“It has been lovely to meet Tracey today and see the great work that she and the team have been doing since Laura’s death.”

Tracey said:  I have always wanted to meet the crew and Debbie for long to tell them thank you. Today was emotional but it was lovely to finally say thank you, they are remarkable people and their efforts never went unnoticed. “

She added: “I know Laura will be blowing you all kisses from heaven.”


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Left to right- Paramedic Mark Carne, Tracey McPhee and 999 call handler Debbie Gray