Woman meets ambulance crew who saved her life

PUBLISHED: 09:15 08 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:41 08 February 2019

Hester Holman meets the ambulance crew that saved her life. Photo: East of England Ambulance Service

Hester Holman meets the ambulance crew that saved her life. Photo: East of England Ambulance Service

East of England Ambulance Service

A Norfolk woman has met the ambulance crew who saved her life just four weeks ago.

Hester Holman woke up in the early hours of January 5 with what she thought was severe acid reflux.

But before her partner Jim Harper could bring her any relief tablets she had collapsed.

Dialling 999 and putting his phone on loudspeaker, Mr Harper began CPR, which involves giving someone chest compressions to keep their heart and circulation going, until paramedic Gary Smith and student paramedic Jonathan Hall arrived to take over.

Critical care paramedic Carl Smith arrived shortly after, with a machine which replicates chest compressions and allowed the team to continue to treat Ms Holman.

Mr Smith said: “We got the first pulse back at 4.32am, but then we noticed another abnormal rhythm with her heart. We got that back to normal, and then her blood pressure was elevated.”

Although the crew arrived promptly, they said without Mr Harper’s early CPR the outcome could have been very different.

Mr Smith said: “Early CPR and early defibrillation is key. It’s very rare we get to meet with patients after these calls.

“The chance of survival for cardiac arrests in the UK is less than 10pc, so it’s really great to be here today meeting with Hester and her family.”

Ms Holman didn’t have any memory of the event herself, so was shocked listening to Mr Smith describe the challenges they faced whilst treating her, including having a second cardiac arrest before being transported to the nearest heart attack centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

She said: “You’re absolutely brilliant, I can’t thank you all enough.”

Ambulance crews say early CPR and defibrillation gives them a much greater chance of helping the patient survive in cases like Ms Holman’s.

For more information and to see a video that goes through the basics of CPR go to

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