‘It was one of the proudest days of my life’ - Airport lifesavers reunited with Italian tourist
PUBLISHED: 20:02 05 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:17 08 October 2018
An Italian tourist who collapsed at Stansted Airport and suffered a cardiac arrest has been reunited with heroic staff members who saved his life.
Antonio Perrelli has made a remarkable recovery following the incident at the Essex airport on August 20, and has been able to meet up with the staff, paramedics and ambulance crews who came to his aid.
Paramedics Kendal Lavery and Debbie McDonald, both based at the Essex hub under a new contract this year to provide rapid 999 cover, were dispatched to help just before 8pm.
Debbie said: “When we arrived, the train had been evacuated and screens were arriving and the airport’s customer service ambassadors were there with a defibrillator and doing chest compressions on Antonio who was laying across a bench/seat.
“The airport team had been first on scene and were carrying out CPR and reassuring Antonio’s daughter, who was travelling with him.
“After we got him to the floor, the airport ambassadors continued CPR while we attached our defibrillator pads. I updated ambulance control that we had a confirmed cardiac arrest and required assistance.”
Debbie and Kendal both worked on Antonio to give him advanced life-saving treatment, and a nearby police officer also assisted.
In the dramatic moments that followed, Antonio was ‘shocked’ three times and by 8.07pm, he had a pulse again.
Debbie said: “The patient was responsive to his name and we were continuously reassuring him he was ok. The air ambulance landed, and another crew and duty officer also arrived.
“The critical care team on the helicopter sedated the patient, and I left to bring the ambulance airside. The patient was still very unwell of course, so in light of this he was flown to hospital.”
Antonio met the teams at the airport just before boarding his flight back to Italy on September 23 with daughter Daniela, who had been with him when he went into cardiac arrest.
Debbie added: “[The meet up] was one of the proudest and emotional days of my life. We fought for his life giving every ounce of energy and emotion we had.
“To see him breathing, walking, smiling, happy, talking and his heart not only beating but filled with gratitude was the best feeling in the world.”
Rebecca Dow, customer service experience manager, who was at the scene assisting the crews, said: “Our ambassadors receive excellent first aid response training by East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust but they rarely face a situation like this during a shift.
“I was incredibly proud of my team, they acted brilliantly and showed determination and professionalism to ensure the patient survived.”
Other passengers who helped with first aid and translation at the scene are also being thanked by Stansted Airport for their assistance.