Cardiac Arrest Survivor Thanks First Aiders

57-year-old Rick Denton is a well-known figure in the Guernsey business and sporting community. He is a locally based financial services professional and corporate governance expert. He is also a director of a number of local and international businesses, as well as a supporter of local charities including the Guernsey Lawn Tennis association and the Guernsey Island Games Association.

In early February 2019 Rick was in the café at ‘Les Cotils’ when he collapsed with a cardiac arrest. Two members of the public, Lynnette Symons and Paul Hancock, who had some previous first aid training with St John, immediately came to his aid.Thankfully for Rick, Les Cotils is also the base for St John Training, so moments later St John Training Manager Steve Ford arrived in the café and immediately started CPR, while Lyn and Paul helped maintain the airway and give rescue breaths. It was the first time that Steve has had to use the skills he teaches on a real patient.

At the same time Managing Director of Les Cotils Fiona Naftel called 999 and asked for an ambulance and café manager Pauline went to collect the Cardiac Action Group AED from reception.

Steve placed the pads on Rick’s chest and switched on the AED, which then directed Steve to deliver a first shock. Chest compressions continued and remarkably within minutes Rick started to regain consciousness.

Thanks to the swift recognition of a cardiac arrest and the immediate CPR and early defibrillation Rick was conscious by the time the St John Emergency Ambulance Service arrived. The paramedic and EMT took over the care of the patient, together with an off duty clinician who had responded as a volunteer Community First Responder.

SJEAS transferred Rick to the Emergency Department of the PEH for further treatment and after a couple of days in the Intensive Care Unit he was transferred by air ambulance to Southampton to have an Internal Cardiac Defibrillator fitted.

This incident is an excellent example of the importance of first aid training, the ability to recognise a cardiac arrest, knowledge of CPR and confidence to use an AED.

Now back at home in Guernsey Rick has met the people who helped him and said a personal thank you. Rick wants to use his story to promote First Aid Training and the use of AEDs. Steve, Paul and Lynnette have been presented with Recognition of Performance Awards by the SJEAS Chief Officer Ali Marquis.