AN ASHBURNHAM woman has praised the quick actions of an old friend who saved her husband’s life.
Malcolm Baker, 72, was suffering a major heart attack when Tony Smith, a trained First Responder with South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb), received an emergency call.
Tony said: “I was alerted to a cardiac arrest in my village and I knew exactly who it was because Malcolm had been a friend of mine for around 45 years.”
Tony, who runs the Brownbread Horse Rescue Centre, sprung into action and, knowing where Malcolm lived, arrived at the scene with his defibrillator kit within minutes.
Malcolm was unconscious and in a bad way.
Tony said: “When I got to him he was not breathing and had no heart beat. I immediately put the defibrillator on, gave him oxygen and carried out CPR whilst also giving breaths via the oxygen mask.”
The defibrillator gives instructions on what to do and once fitted works automatically.
Tony said: “It advised giving Malcolm shock treatment which I did four times, managing to re-start the heart and he started breathing at which point two ambulances arrived and paramedics took over.”
Malcolm was taken to the Conquest Hospital via air ambulance where he was initially cared for in the intensive care unit and then moved onto a ward to further recover.
Malcolm’s wife Jenny said: “Had we had to wait for the ambulance to come from Hastings he would not have survived.
“Within five minutes a miracle came round the path in the shape of Tony. He treated Malcolm with a defibrillator, which we have since learned was the only treatment that could have saved his life.”
She added: “I was fairly traumatised but it’s afterwards that it hits you.
“We owe Tony a huge debt of gratitude and hope that the village will continue to support him in this valuable work. The more people who know about these services the better.”
It is hoped Malcolm will make a full recovery.
Jenny said: “The people in the intensive care unit at the Conquest and on the ward really did look after him - they were really, really good.
“He’s getting better slowly, it could take six months to a year but he should be fine.”
Ironically, a few weeks prior to the incident, Jenny was one of just two people in the village who donated to Tony’s appeal as he tried to raise the £1,200 needed for the Community Responder’s Equipment kit. Then, Bexhill Lions Club stepped in and gave Tony the money he needed.
He said: “Thanks to Bexhill Lions’ generous donation of £1,200 they will be pleased to learn that I have saved a life with the equipment.”
Bexhill Lions’ President June Hough said: “From the club’s perspective it is great to know that the effort we put into fundraising really pays dividends.”