Cornwall Air Ambulance (CAA), two RNLI lifeguards and SWASFT have been shortlisted for the ‘999 Hero’ award at The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards 2022.
In partnership with NHS Charities Together, the awards celebrate healthcare heroes from frontline NHS staff to ordinary people who went above and beyond.
The collaboration of efforts between CAA, the lifeguards and SWASFT during an accident near Portreath in 2021 has led to the nomination.
In March 2021, Chris Barendt was at the wheel of his delivery van when he suffered a cardiac arrest. Despite the odds and thanks to those who helped him, he survived.
Barendt’s van came to a sudden halt on the road and nearby drivers, including RNLI lifeguards Tom McRitchie and Graham Fisher, pulled over to help. They couldn’t open the van door, so they smashed the window and pulled Barendt onto the road to start CPR, with help from passer-by Colin Grant.
Three minutes later, two ambulances and a car from SWASFT arrived. They shocked Barendt seven times with a defibrillator before he regained a pulse.
CAA was also tasked to the incident, with its AW169 helicopter landing in a nearby field in just 12 minutes. Trainee Critical Care Paramedic Louise Lamble and Critical Care Paramedic Thomas Hennessy Jones sedated the patient and put him on a ventilator to transfer him to the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
Thriving, not just surviving
Just 48 hours later, Barendt was sat up in bed talking but he remained in hospital for two weeks before returning home.
Lamble said: “Thanks to the mechanical ventilator in the helicopter we were able to support Chris with his breathing and let his body recover. There are not many patients that have come back in quite the form that Chris has.”
“Chris is a walking miracle. I get dispatched to those kinds of incidents a lot, but to actually have a walking, talking survivor is actually quite rare. This was a really good example of a community forming a team with the emergency services. We all came together to build that chain,” added Hennessy Jones.
The winners of The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards 2022 will be announced at a London ceremony, which will be broadcasted on Channel 4 on 27 November.