Left to right- Technician Sarah Burgin, Kate Aiken and Paramedic Jamie Hunt
An 85-year-old who suffered a stroke while caring for her husband has been reunited with the ambulance crew who saved her life.
Kate Aiken had cared for her husband, Bob, for more than 11 years since he suffered a stroke, which left him with permanent speech problems. Kate was making a cup of tea on 7 March 2017 when she suddenly was unable to move.
Unable to make it to the phone and with husband Bob bed-bound, Mrs Aiken shouted for help until a neighbour, who was returning from work, heard her and raised the alarm.
Paramedic Jamie Hunt and Technician Sarah Burgin arrived on scene and immediately identified that Mrs Aiken was having a stroke.
Paramedic Jamie was taking part in stroke research trial, the Right2 trial, which used a patch that releases GTN (Glyceryl trinitrate) to lower patients’ blood pressure.
Jamie applied the patch and Mrs Aiken was taken to Scunthorpe General Hospital.
While Mrs Aiken was in hospital, her husband’s condition deteriorated and he was admitted to hospital himself. After four days, she was discharged but stayed by Bob’s side, sleeping at the hospital, until he sadly died a couple of days later.
After Mrs Aiken’s stroke she had difficulty with her speech and found it hard to communicate. She joined the Stroke Association and completed a workshop to improve her speech. She now attends monthly support groups at Ashby Wesley Methodist Church in Scunthorpe.
Last year, the peer support group was having a conversation around: “If you could meet anybody, who would it be?”
While most members chose their favourite celebrities and idols, Mrs Aiken said: “If I could meet anybody in the world, I would like to meet the paramedics who saved my life.”
Now her wish has come true.
Working with the Stroke Association, we reunited Mrs Aiken with Jamie and Sarah at her peer-to-peer meeting in Scunthorpe.
Jamie and Sarah surprised her with a bunch of flowers.
Mrs Aiken said: “It was a huge surprise to see them walk through the door. I recognised Jamie’s face straight away. I never thought I would see them again, to be able to say thank you is priceless.
“They are wonderful people and I cannot thank them enough.”
She added: “I only have eyes for Jamie.”
Ambulance crews and staff, rarely hear how patients are getting on after handing over at hospitals so Jamie and Sarah were delighted to see Mrs Aiken again.
Jamie said: “It is great to see a patient doing so well after suffering from a stroke. It’s also lovely to see that she is helping raise awareness of strokes and sharing her story to help others, just like we helped her.”
Sarah added: “It’s nice to see the impact that we have on patients’ lives. It was lovely to see her today.”
• Mrs Aiken has been nominated for an award at the Life After Stroke Awards in London. A video of the reunion with Jamie and Sarah will be shown on the night.