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South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) has been working with the National Association of Laryngectomee Clubs (NALC) in order for staff to be better equipped to help patients who have had a laryngectomy when they require emergency aid and, in particular, resuscitation.

Tony Hudson, Vice President of NALC, leads the charity’s national awareness campaign and recently visited SCAS’ clinical co-ordination centre in Bicester to talk to staff about laryngectomee patients’ needs in an emergency, as well as talk frankly about his own laryngectomy which he needed to have following radiotherapy in 2009.

Tony meets Senior Emergency Call Taker, Lucy Stratford

“Laryngectomees are people that have had their voice boxes removed, usually because of cancer. I now breathe through a stoma in my neck and, like all patients who’ve had a laryngectomy procedure, I cannot breathe through my mouth or nose. So standard mouth-to-mouth resuscitation would be completely ineffective for me and people who’ve had similar procedures”, explains Tony.

Tony has been working with SCAS for some time; a video has been created by NALC and piloted on some training courses for SCAS’ volunteer community first responders and an emergency resuscitation leaflet can be downloaded from NALC’s website (details below). All members of the local Laryngectomee Club have been given the option to have an alert put on their home address so that CCC staff are aware that someone at the address is a neck breather.

Tony and Emergency Dispatcher Luke Froggatt

Rachael Cook, Clinical Service Desk Manager at SCAS’ Clinical Coordination Centre (CCC) in Bicester said: “We will continue working with Tony and NALC to provide more in-depth training and awareness for our volunteer community first responders and CCC staff. It is really important to remember that it may not be immediately obvious that a patient is a neck breather because many patients wear clothing or jewellery over their stomas.”

Find out more about the work of NALC here: www.laryngectomy.org.uk

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