Heart man thanks the 999 ‘he­roes’ who saved his life

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Special Report - By Suz Elvey

selvey@thek­m­group.co.uk A Ken­ning­ton man has thanked the med­i­cal team who saved his life.

Lorry driver Barry Keeler, 59, was work­ing on his fa­ther-in­law’s car out­side his home on Sun­day, Septem­ber 8, last year when he col­lapsed and his heart stopped.

His wife Deb­bie called 999 and within min­utes a crew from South East Coast Am­bu­lance Ser­vice NHS Foun­da­tion Trust (SECAmb) ar­rived and set about sav­ing his life.

Mrs Keeler said: “The doc­tors called him a ‘med­i­cal mir­a­cle’ as they were so im­pressed with Barry’s re­cov­ery, given the amount of time needed to re­sus­ci­tate him and, af­ter com­ing out of the coma, that he showed no signs of any brain dam­age what­so­ever.”

The first crew to ar­rive were crit­i­cal care para­medic Chris Fudge and emer­gency care sup­port worker Gay­lene Do­herty, who started CPR – closely fol­lowed by col­leagues, para­medic Chris Page and tech­ni­cian Keith Lay­ton.

Chris Fudge said: “We had a Lu­cas de­vice on the am­bu­lance – equip­ment that pro­vides chest com­pres­sions to pa­tients in car­diac ar­rest in­stead of hu­man hands do­ing the work. Us­ing this de­vice on Barry en­sured that he con­tin­ued to re­ceive chest com­pres­sions, leav­ing the clin­i­cians free to carry out fur­ther tests and treat­ment.

“Im­por­tantly, with a Lu­cas de­vice we can con­tinue ef­fec­tive chest com­pres­sions while en route to hos­pi­tal.”

Mr Keeler’s heart was also shocked with a de­fib­ril­la­tor to es­tab­lish a nor­mal heart rhythm and af­ter 45 min­utes he was taken to the Wil­liam Har­vey Hos­pi­tal, where he spent two weeks.

He is now well enough to work again part-time, al­though he is ex­pected to have an in­ter­nal de­fib­ril­la­tor fit­ted.

He said: “The am­bu­lance staff have given me my life back and my out­look for the fu­ture is very good.

“I have adopted a healthier life­style and both Deb­bie and I have stopped smok­ing.”

The cou­ple per­son­ally thanked the paramedics who saved Mr Keeler’s life when they met up with them.

Mrs Keeler added: “They may think they are just do­ing a job but to us they are he­roes. My fam­ily could have been with­out a dad and grand­dad if it wasn’t for their per­sis­tence in work­ing so hard to bring Barry back.

“They just didn’t want to give up on him.”

Chris Fudge added: “It was re­ally fan­tas­tic to meet the Keel­ers again. The whole team wishes them all the very best for the fu­ture.”

Pa­tient Barry Keeler and wife Deb­bie with his life savers, from left, emer­gency care sup­port worker Gay­lene Do­herty, para­medic Chris Page and crit­i­cal care para­medic Chris Fudge

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