Time was of the essence when Tim Grizzell suffered a heart attack and needed hospital treatment. Paramedics quickly summoned DSAA.

On Monday 31st May, I had a slight pain at the join of my left arm. After ten minutes or so the pain went away and I thought nothing else of it. On Tuesday, the same thing happened again and on Wednesday, whilst lying in bed, I had the same pain, however this time the pain would not go away.

After panicking, I decided to ring my parents. They advised me to ring the out-of-hours doctor or go direct to the hospital if the pain continued as my family has a bad coronary history. No matter what medication I took from the usual home remedies, the pain began to worsen, so I decided to go to the hospital. After several physical tests and being prescribed some medication for the pain, I went home and fell asleep.

The following morning, I booked an appointment to see my GP as the pain was still there. After explaining the story thus far and mentioning my family’s history of heart conditions, he gave me an ECG. This showed a minor Q wave so I was advised to go back to hospital for further tests. This I did and was then told to return home and expect a call from my GP once the results had come back.

The phone rang at 5.05pm. It was my doctor who explained that I should ring for an ambulance or get to the hospital as the results had shown that I was either having or had a heart attack. He said he would ring back in ten minutes to check on me again; there was a definite urgency in his voice!

I rang for an ambulance and within five minutes a paramedic from the Ambulance Service arrived in a car. As soon as he had introduced himself, my phone went again; it was my GP checking on me. I passed over the phone so both my GP and the paramedic could discuss my medical condition. At this time an ambulance arrived and the paramedics swiftly performed another ECG. 

They realised the urgency of the situation and requested assistance from the air ambulance; the journey by road to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton would have taken approximately 45 minutes from my home in Sherborne and time was obviously of the essence.

It wasn’t long before I could hear the helicopter hovering above, looking for a safe place to land. I was carried carefully to the waiting ambulance outside and was met by the doctor who had flown in.  There was a constant exchange of information between the medics and a lot of forward planning. The doctor explained what we would be doing once on board the aircraft before I was driven to the waiting helicopter where I met all four members of the crew. 

I remember the pilot mentioning that he had flown RAF Merlins, so I knew that I was in safe hands. The flight to Musgrove Park Hospital took less than ten minutes which is incredible. I went immediately to the Cath Lab and subsequently had a stent fitted in my left main coronary artery. I remained in hospital for two further days, then recovered at my parent’s house for a month.

I have now completed my rehab course at Yeovil District Hospital and I am back to work at Leonardo Helicopters in Yeovil. My colleagues keep humouring me by saying ‘the extremities you will go to, to get a helicopter ride’. I had never been in one before and would have preferred different circumstances but I am truly very thankful!

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