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Man thanks Welsh Ambulance Service team who saved his life after suffering four cardiac arrests

A FACTORY worker has thanked the ambulance team who saved his life after he went into cardiac arrest four times.

Rhys Parker was asleep in bed at his home in Newbridge, Newport one morning when his girlfriend noticed he was making a loud snoring noise.

After discovering that he was unresponsive, Ceri Ann Cleverly leapt into action by dialling 999 and began performing CPR after carefully moving him onto the floor.

Welsh Ambulance Service paramedic Mark Sutherland was quickly on the scene in his rapid response vehicle, shortly followed by ambulance crew Mike Cashman and Dave Evans.

They delivered shocks to the 31-year-old using a defibrillator, as well as giving adrenaline, and were able to successfully resuscitate him.

Ceri Ann, who learnt CPR through a first aid course at work, said: “I woke and I thought Rhys was snoring at first, so I tapped him on the shoulder.

“He rolled back as a dead weight which is when I noticed he wasn’t snoring, it was him gasping for air.

“I quickly called for an ambulance and pulled him off the bed with a sheet, and started administering CPR.

“He stopped breathing at one point and they couldn’t bring him back until they gave him adrenaline.”

Rhys went into cardiac arrest twice in the back of the ambulance on route to the Royal Gwent Hospital after falling ill on Wednesday 30 August, and once more after arriving.

Fortunately medical teams were able to resuscitate him on each occasion, but he had to be sedated in hospital.

He was transferred to a specialist heart centre at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London as his heart was only functioning at 10 per cent of its capacity.

It was there that it was discovered that Rhys was born with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition that causes the heart to beat abnormally fast for periods of time.

In order to counter its impact, hospital specialists performed a procedure called catheter ablation, which is used to selectively destroy areas of the heart that are causing a rhythm problem.

After eleven days in London, Rhys was taken back to the Royal Gwent Hospital by helicopter and once it was safe to do so, he was brought out of sedation.

He returned home two weeks ago and has since met paramedic Mark to thank him in person for helping to save his life.

Rhys said: “They were excellent to be honest. It was a fast response and I thought they were brilliant.

“It was nice to meet Mark, he was saying how glad he was to see I was okay and I couldn’t thank him enough. He was the first on the scene and basically the person who kept me alive.

“If Ceri-Ann didn’t start CPR then things could also have been different. It’s well worth learning, and it definitely saves lives.”

While Rhys is feeling better physically, he will need to undergo neurological therapy as part of his rehabilitation, and is being supported by his girlfriend of eight years Ceri-Ann.

He added: “It was quite bizarre because right up until it happened I felt fit as a fiddle. All I can remember is being in the Royal Gwent, I can’t remember being in London.

“I’m up and about now, and I feel like I’m back to myself but I’ve just got some neurological issues with how I process information.

“I’m so glad I’m back, and very thankful to the hospital and all the team that they didn’t give up on me.”

Ceri Ann, who met Rhys on Facebook and works in the same factory as an IT technician, said she was relieved by his recovery.

She said: “We just feel so lucky and blessed that the ambulance got there so quickly, everybody did what they could for him and he’s come out of it.

“He’s always been fit and well, and he does jiu-jitsu. We moved into our new house in June and he and his father renovated the whole place. We’d literally only just settled when this happened.

“I was ecstatic when they woke him up, and the fact he could talk was all I needed, nothing else mattered.”

Paramedic Mark said: “It’s fantastic to know that Rhys has recovered, because he’s only a young man.

“I remember on the morning that Ceri Ann met me outside she was understandably quite distraught. Rhys was upstairs on the floor and had stopped breathing.

“I put a defibrillator on him and after the crew turned up we managed to get him breathing. It was so nice to see him looking better now.”

Calls where a patient is unconscious and has stopped breathing, are categorised as RED under the Welsh Ambulance Service’s new clinical response model, and have a time target of eight minutes.

The Trust is also measured on whether it achieves return of spontaneous circulation for cardiac arrest patients as part of the Emergency Ambulance Service Committee’s Ambulance Quality Indicators.

On Monday (16 October 2017) the service trained more than 12,000 school children across Wales to carry out CPR to help someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest, and Rhys’s story reinforces the importance of learning this lifesaving skill.

Director of Operations Richard Lee said: “This is a fantastic story which demonstrates why the improvements we have made to our RED response times are so vital. Every second counts when somebody is in cardiac arrest.

“Ceri Ann called us quickly and started CPR. From that point forward our call taker, allocator, response car and ambulance crew were able to make sure that this story has the happy ending that it has.” 

Notes to editors

Picture caption: Pictured from left to right are Ceri Ann Cleverly, Rhys Parker, Rhys’s mum Susan and Welsh Ambulance Service paramedic Mark Sutherland.

Figures released today show there were 1,682 RED emergency incidents in September.

We reached 76.8% of RED calls within eight minutes, 81.3% within nine minutes and 84.8% within 10 minutes.

You can view the data in full by visiting Welsh Government’s StatsWales website.

Keep abreast of news and updates by following the Welsh Ambulance Service on Twitter @WelshAmbulance and on Facebook: Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust.

For more information regarding this press release, please call Communications Officer Liam Randall on 01745 532511 or 07841 840 632 or email 

19 Oct 2017 10:07

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