Mike Revell-Quayle suffered a cardiac arrest while at home and asleep. His wife Shannah, who is a nurse, noticed he had agonal breathing; this is when a person is not getting enough oxygen and is gasping for air. She called 999 and started CPR.

Mike and Shannah Revell-Quayle

Shannah and Mike, together with Kirsty Caswell, DSAA’s Patient and Family Liaison Nurse, tell us more…

Mike's cardiac arrest

“Mike’s cardiac arrest took place in May earlier this year. I called the ambulance service, took him off the bed and started to perform CPR.

“It was about seven minutes before the paramedics arrived. They took over the CPR and gave Mike two defibrillator shocks. I remember a young paramedic staying with me throughout. He spoke to me and the children and tried his best to keep the situation calm.”

Emergency services were called into action

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance were also called to help with Mike’s incident, however, it was in the early hours of the morning and the aircraft had not yet come online. Our critical care team were therefore deployed by car.

When the team arrived, Mike was already in the back of the ambulance. He had started to regain consciousness but was quite agitated; something that is often seen in patients of this kind. Because of this, Mike was sedated and intubated before the team travelled alongside him in the ambulance to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton. Mike was very stable in transfer, however, within the first 24 hours in hospital, he suffered two further cardiac arrests and needed defibrillation each time.

Shannah explains Mike's recovery

Mike Revell-Quayle and son in hospital

“Mike remained intubated and on the Intensive Care Unit for a few days before moving to the Critical Care Unit and then to the Fielding Ward. In total, he was in hospital for a month and now has a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (S-ICD) fitted. He is making a smashing recovery; currently, he is in the army and is looking forward to going back to work and resuming his fitness and playing football.

“The support that Mike, I and the children received from Kirsty has been amazing. Mike was waiting a long time for his surgery and Kirsty spent much time contacting other medical professionals to assist with the process. It’s hard to put in words, but people don’t realise how hard it is to have an event like this happen to you when you are so young (29), fit and healthy and the massive impact it has by just remaining in hospital for so long.

“The impact on our children was a massively scary ordeal and the texts that Kirsty sent just saying, ‘how are you?’ meant so much. We will be forever grateful.” 

A message from Mike

Mike wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their care and support. He hopes that more information is shared on how to recover from a cardiac arrest when it happens to someone so young, as he found this difficult to find.

“People of my age think this won’t happen to them. I am fit and healthy, never smoked or done drugs and I rarely drink. It was such a scary time and I found it difficult to realise what I can do, what my limitations are and how long it would be before I could resume exercise. I’ve felt a bit in limbo until today when I had my ICD check. I am not going to say it’s been easy because it hasn’t, but I’m getting there and will be forever grateful for my wife, my children and everyone who kept me alive.”

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

The fact that Mike had to wait a little while to have his S-ICD fitted was a particular challenge as he had a young family at home, including a one-year-old baby. My support to the family, therefore, was particularly focused on the children. We did a little bit of work around dealing with what they had seen or heard on the day of Mike’s incident and what they might have been going through with their dad in hospital. This included using a ‘worry monster’ where they could draw a picture or write any worries down and then post them into the ‘worry monster’ to take the worries away.

After Mike eventually had his S-ICD fitted, he went home that night and I am so pleased he has made an incredible recovery. Shannah has been so amazing and strong, holding people together – so have her parents. It has been my pleasure to support them all through this time and wow, what a great story of the chain of survival.

The DSAA team that attended Mike’s incident were: Ian Mew, Tony Hanks and Mark Williams. Also in attendance from the ambulance service were: Martin Burrow, Thomas Adams, David Hesketh, Vandolff Secong, Shaun Howells and Damien Fairchild.

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NEXT: Paul's Story