A year after a severe heart attack, which left his heart not beating for several minutes, one dad had the chance to meet his rescuers in a surprise visit on his 40th birthday.
In the early hours of 25 June 2018, Ricky Kirk woke with the classic signs of a heart attack; central crushing chest pain, sweating and breathlessness. Shortly after calling 999, an ambulance and a first responder were dispatched to his home in Waterlooville.
The first unit on scene was Scott Avery, a Firefighter who at the time was responding to ambulance calls via the Fire Service’s First Responder scheme.
“As soon as I arrived, I knew he was very unwell. I started initial treatment whilst the ambulance was on its way from Cosham.”
Shortly after Scott’s arrival, Ricky took a turn for the worse, he collapsed unconscious and went into cardiac arrest. Scott’s training kicked in, attaching a defibrillator which shocked him three times, whilst CPR was being performed.
Jake Robinson, Paramedic Clinical Supervisor, and Mat Butler, Student Paramedic, arrived on scene minutes later.
Jake said: “Scott had done a superb job prior to our arrival; Ricky had regained a pulse but was still in a critical condition. We performed a heart tracing and could see he was having a heart attack that was so severe, it was starving multiple portions of his heart from the blood supply it needs to function. Whilst my crewmate Mat continued treatment, I contacted my colleagues at Queen Alexandra Hospital to activate theatres so a cardiologist could remove the clots in his heart immediately.”
Ricky’s brush with death didn’t finish there. Despite initially showing improvement, his heart stopped again and the team had to perform resuscitation efforts whilst conveying him to hospital.
Ricky said “I don’t remember the event at all. The first thing I recall was waking up in the hospital feeling fairly normal.”
However, he seriously declined a third time after sustaining pneumonia and quickly went into septicaemia shock; a life-threatening state which can cause organ failure. As a result, this caused him to lose almost all of his vision as well as some motor function; however some improvement has been made since being discharged home after his three month stay at QA.
Jake said “We very rarely get to meet our patients, even more so with cardiac arrest survivors which, despite SCAS having some of the best ‘cardiac arrest to discharge’ survival rates in the country1, we still only get the chance to meet a few of them in our careers. We were pleased to take up the invitation from Ricky’s partner Clarissa to meet him a year after his cardiac arrest – on his 40th birthday.
“I was truly humbled to hear the challenges and adaptations Ricky has made adjusting to his new way of life. In that moment, we may have been the ‘lifesavers’ for Ricky, but it is the hundreds of staff that played their part in contributing to his care within hospital and since discharge. It’s these cases which remind us of the importance of the NHS and I am glad that we were able to play our small part. I wish him all the best in his recovery.”
Rick said “I would like to massively thank Scott, Jake and Mat for saving my life and the tremendous work they did for myself and my family. Without the help from everyone involved I wouldn’t be here now and most importantly continue to be a Dad to my three-year-old son. I would like to thank my partner Clarissa for her continued and loving support and to all the staff at QA Hospital.”
Ricky featured in The News earlier this year2 after an appeal saw the community come together to complete his dream garden he was planning to start prior to his life changing event.