Paula Joslin tells us how Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance provided critical care to her partner Paul, when he suddenly fell ill and collapsed due to a seizure...

On 13th March, my partner Paul and I were unloading scaffolding boards from our van in Dorchester, when Paul suddenly fell ill. He said that he felt strange, then with no warning, he started shaking before collapsing to the ground. Paul’s breathing became shallow, before he stopped breathing altogether. I shouted for help asking someone to call 999 for an ambulance. Paul was being given CPR while we waited for the emergency services to arrive. Two ambulances soon arrived and not long after this, we saw the air ambulance hovering overhead, before it landed in a nearby field. At this point, Paul was still unresponsive.

On arrival, the doctor from the air ambulance team made the decision to intubate Paul. I was then told that he was very poorly and needed to be flown to Southampton Hospital to receive further treatment. Paul was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Southampton Hospital where he was extubated.

Further tests and an MRI scan revealed that he had suffered a first severe seizure. After 24-hour holter monitoring, which tested his heart rate and rhythm, it showed that his heart was beating more slowly than expected, but for periods it would have extra uncoordinated beats. This raised a suspicion of a blood clot in his lungs, which was proven on a CT scan.

After spending a week in hospital, Paul was discharged home and is having follow up appointments with cardiology and neurology. He is now taking a range of heart and anti-seizure medications and has short-term memory loss. He is currently off work and unable to drive for at least one year.

My sincere thanks go to the ambulance service and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance for saving Paul’s life that day. Without their help, it could have been a different story.

VIEW FROM THE CREW: Dr Stewart McMorran

"When we arrived at scene, paramedics from the South Western Ambulance Service were already in attendance. Paul was unconscious and needing assistance from the crew to keep his airway patent. We quickly established that he had returned from work and had been complaining of a headache. He then collapsed with no signs of life. Basic life support (chest compressions) was provided at the scene, which resulted in his heart beating again. When we assessed him, his eyes were gazing to the right and the right side of his body was rigid.

We were primarily concerned that an intracranial catastrophe had occurred, which had caused him to then fit and his heart stop. For that reason, we focused on trying to provide care to optimise recovery of any brain injury. This involved the provision of a pre-hospital anaesthetic, taking over his breathing with a breathing tube and the use of a ventilator, monitoring his blood pressure very closely by inserting a cannula directly into the artery in his wrist and administering levetiracetam; a drug that is used to control seizures.

Paul was then airlifted to Southampton Hospital where they have a neurosurgical service. I remember Paul’s partner was understandably very worried. We tried our best to keep her informed of all our decisions and why we believed it was best for Paul to be flown to Southampton. I am so pleased to hear that he is making a good recovery.”

NEXT: Richard's Story

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