Pete Moxham suffered a cardiac arrest on the golf course, but is now on the road to recovery. Daughter Donna Neil explains what happened…

On 25th October 2018, my dad, Pete Moxham, was enjoying a round of golf at Sherborne Golf Club with 15 other golfers from Wheathill Golf Club. While playing the 18th hole, he suddenly collapsed, still holding on to his golf bag. After initially assuming that he was messing around, his team-mates quickly realised that his heart had stopped and sprang into action. Fortunately for dad, earlier that day, his name had been drawn out of a hat to play the round with the only two players who had CPR training.

Jim and Russell immediately started CPR. Others ran to the clubhouse to get a defibrillator and called the emergency services, who were dispatched in no time at all. The land ambulance was first on the scene within just eight minutes, closely followed by Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. The defibrillator was used to restart dad’s heart at least three times and a CT scan at the scene revealed that a blocked artery was the cause of the cardiac arrest.

A decision was made to airlift him to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton where a stent was fitted within 20 minutes of his arrival. It was a nerve-wracking few days and weeks for our family; we stayed by his bedside on shifts around the clock, thanks to emergency accommodation being made available by the hospital’s League of Friends. Against the odds, dad survived the cardiac arrest and it became a waiting game to see the extent of any lasting damage.

When he first regained consciousness, he was clearly able to understand those around him but was initially unable to form any words to communicate. Over the next few days, his speech returned along with his long-term memory, but his short-term memory was stuck on a 20-minute loop. We all had to repeat the emotional experience of what happened and why he was in hospital, over and over again.

Gradually the short-term memory repaired itself and he was well enough to be transferred to Dene Barton for a few weeks until he was fit enough to go home. He has no recollection of the week or so leading up to the event, or the cardiac arrest, or most of the days he spent in Intensive Care, the High Dependency Unit or the Cardiac Care Unit. During that time, all our family and friends and dad’s team-mates were incredible; he had a constant stream of visitors and well-wishers offering no end of anecdotes, laughter and support.

Dad is certainly one of the lucky ones. For now, he is taking life a little easier than before, but he is already back working, socialising with his skittles team and still telling dreadful jokes that only his young granddaughters laugh at! Within six months he was playing golf again – albeit with a golf buggy for the moment – and when he returned to Sherborne Golf Club in June, he managed to complete all 18 holes this time!

Some good has come out of dad’s cardiac arrest. Most of the golfers who were playing on the day of his incident have since attended first aid and CPR training delivered by St John’s Ambulance.

Wheathill Golf Club organised a charity golf tournament in aid of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance in December 2018 and plan to hold another similar event in 2019.

In May, my husband James, daughter Elisabeth (aged 7) and I took part in the Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge to also raise money for the Charity. James tackled the longer 54-mile route, while Elisabeth and I took part in the shorter 11-mile ride. Elisabeth also raised extra money through making and selling cakes, jewellery and other items to her Brownies friends.

In June, we all had the opportunity to visit the team at Henstridge. There, dad was able to thank some of the first responders personally and to find out more about the air ambulance service and those initial moments after his cardiac arrest. It was an emotional day, but one that was so very heartwarming and informative. The Charity plays such a vital role in supporting the other emergency services by bringing additional skills and facilities to patients at the scene, as well as offering ongoing support to patients and their families after the event.

We will always be incredibly grateful to everyone who helped in the immediate response to dad’s cardiac arrest, as well as the medical teams at Musgrove Park Hospital, Dene Barton and all our amazing family and friends.

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