King’s Lynn heart patients thank cycling paramedics who helped save their lives

Ambulance staff on bikes save precious time in town centre incidents

Two King's Lynn patients whose lives were saved by cycling paramedics have joined forces to say thank-you to the ambulance teams.

Muriel Morton and Eric Copeman both collapsed in the town centre after heart problems in separate incidents within days of each other - and both of them were helped within minutes by the cycling paramedics.

Mrs Morton, 80, of Fairstead, said she had no recollection of what happened after she was taken ill in the town's branch of Bonmarche store on May 15.

'I went out and felt fine, there was no warning. I met a friend in the shop - it was a Tuesday, and I don't remember anything else until I woke up on the Friday,' she said.

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Mrs Morton had suffered a cardiac arrest but cycling paramedic Lisa Oakey was by her side within two minutes - helped by off-duty colleague Paul Chittock.

'They were wonderful and were there so quickly, from what I've been told. It was a Tuesday and market day so Lynn was busy and an ambulance may not have been able to get to me so fast,' said Mrs Morton.

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She had to be resuscitated and was taken to Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital before transferring to Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire, and was fitted with two stents before being discharged to recover at home.

Three days earlier the cycle response unit, with paramedic Carl Smith riding, was called to Bedtime Bed Centre where Eric Copeman had collapsed with chest pains.

Just as the ambulance arrived to take Mr Copeman to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital the 60-year-old went into cardiac arrest.

But Mr Smith and fellow clinicians Ian Winskill and Matt Webb resuscitated him and repeated their success twice more when he went into two further arrests in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

Mr Copeman was also fitted with two stents and is now recovering well.

'I was conscious the whole time and remember all of it. The chap on the bike was with me within two minutes - it was amazing really. They were all so good,' he said.

'I had been having chest pains and the ambulance was called. I was taken to Norwich and was awake while they fitted the stents. I was in the ambulance at noon and sitting up in bed chatting with my wife at 4pm,' said Mr Copeman, of Pandora Meadows.

Mr Smith, who, as well as a cycling paramedic is also clinical operations manager for West Norfolk, said: 'This is an excellent example of how seconds count in cardiac arrest and the importance of having paramedic cycle response units in towns and cities.

'It has emphasised the importance of early resuscitation and shocking and I am confident that having a bike on in the town centre has made the difference with these patients. Our average two-and-a-half minute response in the town centre has now been proved an overwhelming success.'

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