On Monday 12th October at approximately 7.50am, I was cycling by myself at Brook Down in Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, when I started to experience chest pains. Thinking it was cramp, I carried on cycling across the Downs, but the pain increased quite dramatically so I got off my bike. Although my chest pain had eased slightly, I knew that there was a problem, so I took some pictures of my surroundings and then carried on cycling.

Before long, the pain had returned, I therefore had to decide how best to proceed. I knew that cycling would increase my heart rate and the pain in my chest, however, if I walked, it could be too slow for me to reach anyone for help. I was in quite a predicament.

Somehow, I made it to a bench nearby; there I collapsed and started to vomit. I stared up at the sky and thought to myself, ‘please not here, not now’. I honestly thought that I was going to die there in the cold, as the pain was so intense and I had no access to medical help.

I do not fully recall getting back on my bike, as I had curled up near the bench trying to keep myself warm, however, I do remember crossing the road and ringing 999 for an ambulance. Two motorists, along with a first responder and an ambulance came to my aid. The
pain was getting worse, but I was so grateful to have their reassurance, which helped so much.

After stabilising me and seeing the precarious position that I was in, the paramedics requested assistance from the team at Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

We have all seen the TV documentaries about air ambulances and the costs that are involved with a call out, so I felt a bit guilty that I had to be the one who was in effect incurring these costs. Stupid I know, but my thoughts were all over the place.

Sometime later, I heard the helicopter land and then I met the air ambulance team. At every stage, they explained what was going on, what they were doing and what was going to happen to me. They kept me very calm and reassured me throughout the journey to hospital; their professionalism and compassion must be applauded.

Before long we arrived at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. The clinical team continued their care and stayed with me until I went into theatre to have a stent fitted. Being quite a fit person, my recovery in hospital went very well. After four days recovering on the ward, I returned home to the Isle of Wight.

When I suffered my heart attack, it was quite a traumatic experience, as I was on the hill alone and it was very cold. At first, I struggled to share what happened, but now, even after a very short time, it is becoming easier to talk about it and to show my emotions to others. I hope to get back out on my bike sometime soon, however, I know that a slow recovery is now on the cards.

Without receiving help from the two motorists, the first responder, ambulance crew, air ambulance team and all the NHS staff at the hospital, it might have been a totally different story. I would like to say a huge thank you to the team at Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, for enabling me to see my family again and for giving me the chance to ride my bike once more, whenever that might be.

When a patient’s life is in danger, boundaries are not important!
In the case of Nik’s incident, our clinical team were dispatched to the Isle of Wight to provide pre-hospital critical care. When a patient’s life is in danger, boundaries are not important. No matter who you are, or where you are, the most appropriate air ambulance will be dispatched, to ensure that you receive that all important urgent pre-hospital care. Air ambulances work closely together to mutually support each other and to ensure that the patient remains our priority.

Dr Ian Mew, was part of DSAA’s clinical team who cared for Nik on the day and said: “Time is of the essence for a number of our patients and this was certainly the case with Nik. The lack of blood and oxygen reaching his heart was causing it to beat very slowly. On arrival at hospital, we were able to highlight the urgency to unblock the blood vessels supplying Nik’s heart to the consultant team. Nik was extremely brave and I can speak for us all when I say that we are very pleased that he has made a full recovery.”