HomePete’s Story

Pete’s Story

“We wake up every day and thank him, the doctors, nurses and paramedics.”

Pete’s Story

Friday 20th November began like a usual workday for Pete Morris, his wife Jackie and their colleague Danny. It was a cold, wet and dreary afternoon, but their house clearance in Harlow was all going to plan – until disaster struck.

Pete (72) was in the horsebox trailer just in front of the property when he began clutching his chest. Showing obvious signs of discomfort, he was spotted by Andy Jenkins, a hairdresser who was walking to the local pharmacy to collect his mother’s prescription.

“I saw Pete in the horsebox, and you know when there’s something wrong with the picture in front of you, he just didn’t look right. I was about 50 yards away but saw he had his hand up to his chest, and then he quickly fell to the floor.”

Rushing over to the horsebox Andy could see Pete was unconscious. At that moment Danny appeared from inside the house, and seeing the dreadful situation, he ran back to get Jackie. Upon assessing Pete, she found him to be unresponsive.

Jackie said: “It was so frightening because without giving CPR, I knew he didn’t stand a chance. At first, I thought he was having a fit as he was making a terrible noise but realised he wasn’t, I then considered it may be a stroke but seeing his whole body in a spasm, I ruled that out. I could see his face turning blue, and he was frothing at the mouth, I knew he was dying and that I had to start CPR.”

Jackie was recovering from surgery to her shoulder, and although she tried, she did not have the strength required to give effective chest compressions.

“I instantly had this awful fear when I could not press down hard enough. I physically couldn’t do it, but Andy stepped in and began chest compressions whilst Danny called the ambulance.”

Andy worked as a snowboarding instructor many years ago and learned CPR as part of his first-aid training.

“When I heard the sirens and the Ambulance Crew showed up, they told me to keep doing what I’m doing, and they started setting up their equipment around me. That’s the moment I realised I was doing something right.”

EHAAT’s Critical Care Team and the emergency services arrived promptly at the scene via rapid response vehicle (RRV) Pre-Hospital Care Consultant, Dr Matt O’Meara, Dr Clare Anderson and Critical Care Paramedic, Scott Wallman, stabilised the patient by taking control of Peter’s breathing using an anaesthetic and a ventilator.

The team stabilised Pete so he could be safely transferred to Lister Hospital in Stevenage. EHAAT provided a prehospital anaesthetic, and he remained in an induced coma for two weeks. Pete had an Internal Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD) fitted to continuously monitor his heartbeat and help restore a regular heart rhythm when required. After developing pneumonia and E. coli while in hospital, Pete spent a further three weeks receiving treatment, but against all odds, he was discharged on Christmas Eve with no severe side effects.

As emphasised by Scott: Tthe rapid recognition of cardiac arrest, initiation of good quality CPR and early 999 call are what undoubtedly lead to a return of spontaneous circulation and ultimately Peter’s survival. Without early recognition and CPR at the time of cardiac arrest, the subsequent interventions from the Ambulance Service and Essex and Hearts Air Ambulance are significantly less effective as the brain has had a prolonged time without oxygen. The actions and courage, of those who are there at the time of collapse, is what buys the patient time, enabling us the best chance of a positive result.”

Andy said: “The critical care team were amazing – very professional and efficient in their work. Once I’d seen them shock him twice, and nothing was happening on the screen, I felt like I shouldn’t be there. I wished Jackie all the best but naturally assumed Pete wasn’t going to make it. It played on my mind. I felt like I could have done that little bit more.”

While Pete was in hospital, Jackie was eager to reach out to Andy to let him know Pete survived and was recovering in hospital and thank him for his life-saving intervention.

Fortunately, she made contact with Andy’s wife Jodie on Facebook, having initially posted a message on a local group for residents in Harlow, which a client of Andy’s spotted. The two began exchanging messages on the social media platform before arranging a heartfelt reunion on 9th August 2021 – eight months after the ordeal.

Most recently, Jackie and Pete nominated Andy for a Royal Humane Society award. Upon finding their application successful, they touched base with EHAAT’s Head of Patient & Family Liaison, Adam Carr, to see how the award could be presented in a “special and memorable” way. Jackie remained in close contact with Jodie to plan timings and ensure the award ceremony remained a well-guarded secret.

Jackie said: “Adam said he’d be honoured to present the award to Andy, but I never dreamt he’d be able to rustle up all the crew. It made the whole event extremely special!”

Looking back at the moment he received the award at the charity’s North Weald Airbase; Andy said: “When Jodie asked for directions to the charity’s airbase, I thought she’d arranged a helicopter flight or a tour. The award was a total shock, but I’m really grateful to Pete and Jackie for organising everything, and for the air ambulance crew and emergency services for finding the time to attend with their packed schedules.”

Pete said: He could have just as easily seen what was going on and carried on with his day. He was a really good Samaritan and saved my life. It’s an absolute miracle Andy was there at that moment. We wake up every day and thank him, the doctors, nurses and paramedics. We want to shout from the rooftops what everybody’s done for us.”

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