Billingshurst man reunited with ‘amazing’ paramedics

Billingshurst man Stuart Brown meets Andy Richmond, Ellie Helmore and Graham Orchard
Billingshurst man Stuart Brown meets Andy Richmond, Ellie Helmore and Graham Orchard

A Billingshurst man praised ambulance staff as ‘amazing’ when he thanked them in person less than a year after they saved his life.

Stuart Brown, 76, a retired chief buyer in the building industry, fell at the top of the stairs in his home last August.

Paramedics raced to the scene and found Stuart to have an extremely slow heartbeat.

However, hours later he had a pacemaker fitted and has made a full recovery.

Stuart was determined to thank ambulance technician Graham Orchard, emergency care support worker Andy Richmond and critical care paramedic Ellie Helmore in person.

He said: “If it had taken another half hour to get to hospital, I would not be here today.

“The doctor at the hospital, who had to be woken up in the middle of the night to operate on me was marvellous too.

“I’m so grateful to everyone for saving my life and to meet the ambulance team has meant a lot to me. I will never forget these three amazing people.”

After the fall, Stuart’s wife Jean called 999 even though he was conscious. Graham and Andy were first to the scene.

Andy said: “When we arrived Stuart was lying down on the bed and when trying to sit him up he lost consciousness again and alarmingly, I just could not get a blood pressure reading either manually or with our equipment.”

Graham added: “We immediately proceeded to do an ECG which showed a reading of 14, the slowest heartbeat I have so far come across in my experience.

“We both knew that Stuart was in a very serious condition and had to be transported to hospital urgently.

“The problem was that his heart was so weak that moving him would be extremely risky and for certain cause Stuart to go into cardiac arrest.”

Ellie was able to arrive quickly as she was already in the Billingshurst area.

She said: “I was faced with a very sick patient with no time to lose.

“We needed to bring Stuart’s heart rate up fast and I injected him with the necessary drugs to achieve a stable enough heart rate that would allow us to wheel him down a winding staircase and into the ambulance.”

At Worthing Hospital, Stuart had emergency surgery that night to have a heart pacemaker fitted.

Following a four-day stay in hospital, he was allowed home and only two weeks later he was given the all-clear by his doctor to go on a cruise to the Azores with Jean.

Ellie added: “We don’t often hear how our patients are doing and to meet Stuart and to see how well he is now is really satisfying.

“On behalf of the whole team we wish Stuart the very best for the future.”

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