A paramedic treating a woman going into cardiac arrest had a heart attack himself while trying to help her – before colleagues stepped in to save both lives.
Senior emergency medical technician Jeremy Williams was resuscitating the unnamed 30-year-old patient at her home in Bedfordshire.
But the 53-year-old East of England Ambulance Service worker suddenly felt ‘excruciating’ pain in his chest at the house in Stewartby in June.
Fearing that Jeremy could die, his co-workers stepped in, with some continuing to shock the patient while others carried out an ECG on Jeremy.
They suspected he too was having a heart attack then worked side-by-side to manage both casualties and transfer them to separate hospitals.
Jeremy underwent emergency surgery to have two stents fitted to unblock the arteries around his heart.
Now he and the original patient are both making full recoveries.
Jeremy, from Kempston, said: ‘It was one of those things which never, ever happens.
‘I can laugh about it now because I’m glad to be here, but if it hadn’t been for my colleagues it would be a completely different story.
‘We knew it was a bad job when we arrived because the patient’s condition was so serious, but it just seemed to get worse from there.’
He confirmed: ‘I’ve come off a motorbike at high speed so know what pain is, but have never felt anything like I did on that day.
‘It was so excruciating that the crew couldn’t dry my chest to attach the ECG. But once they did get a reading, they knew what they had to do and transferred me straight to the specialist hospital at Lister where I had two stents fitted.
‘I now feel fine, but shudder to think what the outcome would be if this had happened on a country road in the middle of nowhere with no one else around.
‘But for me, everything fell into place – if I was going to have a heart attack, I couldn’t have had it with better people around me.’
He thanked his colleagues and declared himself ‘forever grateful’ to them for saving two lives.
EEAST staff Mark Evans, Nadine Ward, Paul Neary, Dave Jadidi and Sophie Reynolds worked together to treat both patients.
Shaun Whittington, an advanced paramedic in urgent care, led the incidents and described the shift as one he will never forget.
‘Jeremy’s heart rate and blood pressure dropped dramatically while we were on the way to hospital and at one point I thought he was going to go into cardiac arrest,’ he explained.
‘I don’t know who was sweating more – him or me.
‘We waited at the Lister while he had the stent fitted and within just 40 minutes he was a completely different person.
‘When we arrived he looked like he was about to die, but after the surgery it was like he had just come home from a holiday.’
Mark added: ‘I’ve been in this job for 22 years and have never heard of anything like this happening before, and really hope it never happens again.
‘The fact that Jeremy and the patient have both recovered is a testament to the skills and dedication of the team on scene on the day, who worked together brilliantly to manage two very challenging incidents.’
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