“It was the skill of these people that kept me alive.”

Bill Creamer doesn’t remember much about the day that he went from working in a shop to being airlifted to hospital in a critical condition. What he does know is that if it hadn’t been for the GWAAC Critical Care Team he might not be here today.

It was just a normal day for Bill, as he set off for his shift in the shop at Chippenham Golf Club. His colleague left the shop at 10am to teach a lesson, and this was the last thing Bill remembers. He was found on the floor, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity team were called, and our crew rushed to the scene in the helicopter, arriving fifteen minutes later. During that time a land ambulance crew had arrived and had started CPR. They had managed to get his heart beating again, but Bill remained unconscious and critically ill.

Critical Care Doctor Scott Grier and Critical Care Paramedic Pete Sadler assessed Bill, and decided that they needed to safeguard his airway and take control of his breathing. They did this by inserting a tube down his vocal cords and into his windpipe. During this process Bill suffered a further cardiac arrest, but was quickly resuscitated with a shock from the defibrillator. Once he was stable he was loaded into the helicopter and flown to the Bristol Royal Infirmary. This is the region’s specialist heart centre and ensured Bill received the specialist care he needed. Pete said:

“In order to safeguard his airway and provide assistance for his breathing, we decided to carry out pre-hospital emergency anaesthesia. This involves giving powerful anaesthetic drugs to sedate the patient and paralyse his muscles. This then allows us to pass a breathing tube down through his vocal cords, into his windpipe. We took off from the golf club and flew Bill to Bristol Royal Infirmary, providing critical care throughout the flight.”

Bill was treated by staff in the hospital, and has now made a full recovery. He said:

“The highly skilled crew that attended to me took me to the Bristol Heart Hospital. I am sure that the outcome would have been very different had I not got to hospital as fast as I did. It was the skills of these people together with the speed that kept me alive. I was so lucky that day, thank you all.”

If you or someone you know has been helped by the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity team, we’d love to invite you to meet the crew who help you. You can get in touch using our ‘Share Your Story’ form.

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by Andy Crow