Ambulance volunteer is a life-saver

AN Essex ambulance volunteer was praised yesterday for saving the life of a man who was choking on a rack of ribs.Matt Hine, 22, a community first responder from Southminster near Maldon, arrived about 15 minutes before the ambulance to help John Dodding.

AN Essex ambulance volunteer was praised yesterday for saving the life of a man who was choking on a rack of ribs.

Matt Hine, 22, a community first responder from Southminster near Maldon, arrived about 15 minutes before the ambulance to help John Dodding.

The 37-year-old was eating a rack of ribs at his home in Southminster last month when a piece of meat got stuck in his throat.

His wife Wendy and a neighbour tried to help but could not free it - leaving Mr Dodding fighting for breath.


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An ambulance and Mr Hine were called and he arrived nine minutes later.

He said: “When I arrived, John's lips and fingertips had gone blue. I checked his throat but could not see what was causing the blockage.

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“Our training teaches us how to deal with situations like this. I used a technique known as abdominal thrusts to try to free the piece of meat. At the third attempt it worked and the piece of meat came out.

“John collapsed, but his breathing came back to normal relatively quickly. Soon after the ambulance arrived to check him out.”

Mr Dodding, who is married and has a two-year-old son, said: “If it wasn't for Matt, I almost certainly wouldn't be here today - it is as simple as that.”

And Essex Ambulance Service deputy chief executive Paul Leaman added: “Matt has proven again just how important community first responders are. “The role they play really can make the difference between life and death.”

First responders are volunteers trained in basic first aid, oxygen therapy and the use of a defibrillator.

Mr Hine said: “If I had not arrived he would have been in a bad way and would probably have died.

“This is the reason you become a first responder - to make a difference to someone else's life.”

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