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A Day Like No Other

“I was in the canteen and had just finished lunch when I looked across the room, and I saw someone was having an issue,” he recalls. “I could see an employee grabbing at their face, and I knew that something was up. I jumped up off the seat and went over to them.”

The employee in question was hyperventilating.


“My manager was there too,” says Chris, “so we grabbed them a seat and tried to calm them down. They were having a severe panic attack. I got my medical bag and my ECG machine from the first aid room. We checked their vital signs. Their oxygen levels were quite low, so I administered oxygen therapy and kept them there in the seat for about ten minutes, trying to reduce her breathing rate, which at this point was between 45 and 50 breaths per minute”.

Chris eventually managed to get the patient to the first aid room, where they carried out a primary and secondary assessment. In the meantime, an ambulance was called, but after twenty minutes and with the patient still hyperventilating, there was still no sign of any blue lights.

Another twenty minutes passed without any improvement, the employee's condition worsened, and at one point, they stopped breathing completely. “I immediately checked for a pulse, but unfortunately, I could not obtain one, so I immediately initiated CPR.”

Thankfully, after just one cycle of compressions, the employee began to breathe again, and the pulse returned. The employee was transported to the hospital with help from the ambulance service, where she was treated for their condition.

Skills and Facilities

“I was relieved when they went into the ambulance,” says Chris. “It had gone on for an awfully long time. I think from start to finish, it was about an hour-and-a-half.”

Ninety minutes that could have been over so much sooner but so much darker had the facilities and Chris’s skills and abilities not been in place.

“My first aid room is pretty much stocked like an ambulance,” he says. "Most places don’t have these facilities available to them and don’t have EMTs. There have been a few cardiac-related incidents since I’ve been here. We have equipment that can really help people and tell us what’s happening inside. We have had three or four occasions when we have probably stopped cardiac arrests - situations where if you left it for a while, a person could be in trouble.”

A couple of days after the incident, the patient returned to work. It turned out that they had received some bad news, which triggered a panic attack that then turned into a panic arrest.

“I was talking to them briefly when they came back,” says Chris. “The employee thanked me. I was delighted that I was able to help them. That’s what the job is all about. That’s the extra that training as an EMT gives you. It could have turned out much worse if someone with my training wasn’t there.”

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