The story of a wife who fought to save her husband’s life as they waited for the arrival of an air ambulance after he had suffered a cardiac arrest at home is to feature on TV at the weekend.
Nicola Lack had been encouraged by her husband Michael to train as a Community First Responder just a year before the life or death scenario unfolded in Edlesborough on September 22, 2018.
Thankfully she chose to heed his advice and the couple’s experience will be covered on More4’s Emergency Helicopter Medics this Sunday (April 28) at 9pm.
Michael, 38, was enjoying watching TV with his family, when suddenly his 11-year-old daughter Mollie noticed that her father’s eyes had rolled back and he was gasping for breath.
Thankfully, Nicola, who is a voluntary Community First Responder with South Central Ambulance Service, instantly recognised that Michael was in cardiac arrest.
Whilst Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s crew were racing to Michael’s side, Nicola sprang into action.
Knowing the severity of Michael’s condition, she immediately began CPR.
Reflecting on the harrowing experience, Nicola said: “Just a year before Michael’s cardiac arrest, he had encouraged me to become a Community First Responder.
“I’m so thankful that he did, because when he unexpectedly became ill, I knew exactly what to do and I had a defibrillator in my car.
“As I placed the pads on Michael to shock him, I was desperately begging him not to leave me. I just did my best to keep my husband alive.”
Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s critical care crew arrived quickly. Working to support the land ambulance team on scene they relieved Nicola and continued Michael’s treatment.
To stabilise his abnormal heart rhythm, a critical careparamedic and a doctor gave Michael the advanced drugs carried onboard the helicopter.
Last month, almost a quarter of the patients Thames Valley Air Ambulance dealt with were cardiac arrest incidents.
When a patient is in cardiac arrest, their chances of survival significantly decrease every minute the heart stops beating, and they aren’t breathing.
Often the circumstances of patient’s illnesses or injuries can be highly traumatising for both the patient and their loved ones.
To help those like Michael and Nicola adapt and cope after an incident, Thames Valley Air Ambulance has employed a Patient Liaison Manager to provide aftercare support.
Former paramedic, Adam Crosby, has taken on the role. He said: “Coping after a sudden traumatic injury or critical illness can be daunting and everyone’s experiences and responses will be different. My role is to offer support in the days, weeks, months and even years after an incident.”
An important part of the Patient Liaison Manager role is to advocate for patients and to direct them to other supportive organisations. Such support can include advice to reduce the burden of practical issues, such as coping with mortgage payments and housing arrangements.
The Lacks are one of the first families to benefit from Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s aftercare service.
Describing the support, Nicola said: “Although I’ve treated people in cardiac arrest before, it was particularly tough treating my own husband.
“Michael received brilliant treatment from all those involved, but his recovery journey has been bumpy, which has had an effect on all of the family.
“Fortunately, the care we received from Thames Valley Air Ambulance has continued since that day, thanks to Adam. It’s such a comfort to have his support, from translating complicated medical terms to even just listening to us. We’re so grateful to Thames Valley Air Ambulance for treating my husband on that day, but also for the amazing aftercare we’ve received as a family since”.
> To find out more about Thames Valley Air Ambulance’s aftercare service or learn more about its work, visit www.tvairambulance.org.uk or call 0300 999 0135.