Russell Poole suffered a cardiac arrest while gigging with his band at the Golden Lion pub in Weymouth. His wife Sue kindly tells us more…

Russell plays the drums in his band. On that evening, they had just finished their third song when he went into cardiac arrest. Fortunately, one of the band members was trained in CPR and swiftly came into action with their partner to provide early chest compressions until an ambulance turned up.

When the ambulance crew arrived, they used a defibrillator to shock Russell’s heart. The air ambulance team had also been tasked to help.

Being airlifted to hospital

Russell was airlifted to Royal Bournemouth Hospital and remembers nothing about the whole incident. The first thing he remembers is waking up in hospital three days later. After being in intensive care for four days, he then moved to the Critical Care Unit, where he was fitted with a pacemaker with a built in defibrillator (ICD). Within six days of Russell suffering his cardiac arrest, he was discharged home.

The support that I have received from Kirsty Caswell, one of the charity’s patient and family liaison nurses has been outstanding! She kept in touch and helped me to understand exactly what happened, making sure that I was ok too. I really looked forward to her phone calls as a voice of reassurance and thank her so much for all her help.

We wanted to share our story with others, as a way of saying thank you for the amazing work that Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance do and to highlight how important every single member of the team is. Every penny that people donate helps to save lives and keep families together.

VIEW FROM THE CREW - Kirsty Caswell, Patient and Family Liaison Nurse

As Sue has mentioned, Russell collapsed while playing in his band; he received bystander CPR for 15 minutes until the ambulance arrived. When DSAA arrived, Russell was in the back of the ambulance. He was quite unconscious, but starting to breathe for himself and beginning to regain a slight degree of consciousness. As Russell had been vomiting post-arrest, our team began the process of a prehospital intubation so that they could ensure he had a protected airway. They administered drugs to help him stay sleepy, a breathing tube was put into his throat and he was put onto our ventilator.

Russell was given an infusion of sedative to keep him asleep so he could tolerate the breathing tube. An arterial line was fitted so that our team could really closely monitor his internal blood pressure. This critical care intervention meant that any changes in Russell’s status would be highlighted immediately from the internal line in his artery. We sent Russell’s ECGs directly to the Cath Lab at Royal Bournemouth Hospital. After being airlifted to their helipad, he was taken directly to the Cath Lab, bypassing the Emergency Department, to have his cardiac arrest treated.

Russell’s recovery was super impressive. To be discharged within six days with an ICD fitted is phenomenal. When we caught up with him and Sue less than a month after his incident, they had been out shopping and had spent a day at the beach. What an incredible story of the chain of survival!

The DSAA team that attended Russell’s incident were: Stewart McMorran, Nick Richards, Johnathan Everand and Jack Cook. Also in attendance from the ambulance service were: John Norman, Caroline Pike, Jenni Hunter, Callum Brodie and Matt Care.

If you've been inspired by Russell and Sue's story and would like to help us to continue saving lives, we would be grateful to receive your donation. No matter how big or small, every penny donated really will make a big difference! Thank you for supporting your local air ambulance.

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NEXT: Mike's Story