News

The butcher who saved my life

Paramedics from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) are reminding people of the importance of stepping in and helping when someone’s heart has stopped. SWASFT has been working alongside the British Heart Foundation on ‘Restart a Heart’ day to raise awareness of the importance of early intervention.

Marilyn Smith from Cornwall was one such lucky patient who received that vital treatment when her heart stopped suddenly.

Marilyn said: “It came completely out of the blue. I’d been feeling fine and I’d even taken the dogs out for a three mile walk that day, when I went up to my bathroom and just suddenly collapsed.”

Marilyn’s husband called 999 and their local SWASFT Community First Responder (CFR), Mike Kinger, the local butcher, was sent out to give Marilyn the life-saving defibrillator shock that got her heart beating again.

Mike Kinger has been a volunteer CFR for 12 years and attends emergency calls in his area of Cornwall in the vital minutes before an ambulance arrives. Last year Mike spent 7,520 hours as a CFR – which is equal to 313 days of his time to helping others and saving lives.

Mike was recently a shortlisted finalist at a prestigious awards ceremony in London attended by the Prime Minister Theresa May for the ‘Who Care Wins Awards’ recognising NHS staff and their hard work.

Marilyn said; “I would not be here if it weren’t for Mike saving me.”

Her husband Mal said: “I was in such a panic but he was so calm. By the time the ambulance arrived he’d got her heart going again. He doesn’t just deserve an award, but a knighthood.”

Marilyn was taken onto Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, where doctors found a blockage in one of her coronary arteries and she was fitted with a stent.

Volunteers like Mike Kinger, who have been trained to attend life-threatening emergencies are crucial in rural areas. Mike said: “I’m on call most of the time. I just enjoy helping people and working alongside the professionals in the ambulance service, it is all one team effort.”

There are around 1,000 CFRs providing lifesaving support to patients across the region. CFRs are trained volunteers who attend emergency incidents on behalf of SWASFT within their local communities. They respond to particular types of 999 calls where it is essential for the patient to receive immediate lifesaving care. These include conditions such as cardiac arrest, chest pain, breathing difficulties, unconscious patients, fitting and stroke.

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Copy from SWASFT