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Patient helps buy defibrillator after community first responder and paramedic save her life

A grateful patient inspired by the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) team who saved her life, has helped raised funds to buy a defibrillator

Dulcie, from Penzance, Cornwall, suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed, falling off her fixed exercise bike at home. She was treated with a defibrillator by a community first responder and a paramedic, convincing her that a community defibrillator was needed at her gym.

Luckily for her, expert help was only seconds away when SWASFT volunteer community first responder Jack Bushnell responded to a 999 call on his way from helping another casualty.

He took over from Dulcie’s partner who was giving effective CPR and immediately applied defibrillator pads and gave CPR himself to try and restart her heart and breathing.

When his colleague, paramedic Jess Leah arrived, they delivered a further defibrillator shock and Dulcie started breathing herself shortly before regaining consciousness and soon began talking to the paramedics.  Further help arrived with a second ambulance crew and the air ambulance with a doctor on board to help stabilise Dulcie and take over her care.

Dulcie, a public health doctor working for Cornwall Council, thanked the SWASFT team and stressed how important defibrillators and trained community volunteer paramedics were to saving her life. She said: “We all know how under pressure the ambulance service is, but when there is a life-threatening emergency they are still able to respond magnificently. 

“I can’t really put into words how grateful I am to my partner, to Jack, and to the ambulance service for their quick response, skill, professionalism and kindness that they showed.  I clearly would not be here today was it not for all of them.’’

Jack said: “I was just heading back from another incident when I received the top priority category 1 response call to Dulcie. At the time the only details I had was that it was a person who'd fallen off a bike and was in cardiac arrest.

“I've been to a number of arrests so felt calm and collected en-route and on arrival, this meant I could think about what I'd need to do and whether this may be a traumatic or medical arrest.’’

He said Dulcie was fighting to recover as she was being treated and he was confident at the time that emergency treatment would get results.  His patient had also been given the best chance of recovery due to the prompt and effective CPR care by her partner.

“It was an incredibly surreal and rare moment to go from a resuscitation attempt to talking to that patient. It was a fantastic outcome and I'm proud to be part of the team which treated Dulcie.

“Having since spoken to Dulcie and found out she’s fully recovered and raised money to fund a defibrillator, I think it's amazing and an important reminder of good "bystander" CPR. These outcomes are very rare and it reminded me of why I do this job.’’

The public defibrillator, outside Crossfit Penzance, was paid through a community effort including a sponsored gym competition and prize raffle donated to by local businesses.

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South Western Ambulance Charity

The South Western Ambulance Charity, founded in 1995, uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of the staff and volunteers of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. 

Our charitable support covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire including Bristol and Swindon.

If you would like to show your appreciation for the care that you or your loved one has received from us in the form of a charitable donation please visit our online giving website: Donate to South Western Ambulance Charity | Give as you Live Donate