Specialist Care by Wiltshire Air Ambulance Aided Trevor

An advanced piece of medical equipment used by our paramedics and funded by charitable donations helped to save a Chippenham man’s life.

The Lucas mechanical CPR device gives continuous chest compressions and was used on Trevor Filer, 72, after he suffered a cardiac arrest at home on 11 August 2017.

Trevor’s wife, Karen, called 999 and carried out CPR on Trevor for about ten minutes until medical assistance arrived. A Community First Responder arrived first followed by land ambulance paramedics.

Trevor’s heart was defibrillated by the land crews but he still required CPR, so we were called. Paramedics Ben Abbott and James Hubbard arrived and used the Lucas device on Trevor.

The Lucas device ensured a steady supply of oxygen to Trevor’s heart and brain until Trevor was able to breathe for himself.  Although still seriously ill, Trevor was stable enough to be taken to the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Trevor was in intensive care for 16 days during which time he got pneumonia, but he pulled through and continued his treatment on a cardiac ward. Trevor, a retired carer, had an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) fitted inside his chest to regulate his heart rhythm and returned home after just over five weeks in hospital.

We have three Lucas devices, all funded by charitable donations. One is on our helicopter and both Rapid Response cars have one.  

Ben and James attended Trevor in a Rapid Response Car as the helicopter was grounded due to weather restrictions. They also travelled in the land ambulance with Trevor and Karen to the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Trevor, who has made a full recovery, and Karen recently visited our current base In Devizes and met Ben and James.

Karen, 59, a homemaker, said: “Meeting Ben and James was a very moving experience, they were very kind, taking time to explain so much to us. For me it was cathartic to meet up with them without the terrible stress of that night. Trev felt honoured to shake the hands of people who helped save his life.

“Ben and James were a pivotal part of Trev’s care and we can’t thank them enough. We are convinced the Lucas machine was a contributing factor in Trev’s survival. It provided constant CPR beyond the quality and quantity a person can sustain and they should be available to all.”

Ben and James told the couple that Karen was the hero as she did CPR on Trevor until the first medical emergency response arrived.

Trevor said: “Karen saved my life with prompt CPR and I’m so grateful to everyone else who was involved in treating me.”

Karen said: “CPR training needs to be part of everyone’s education. I was just the first person in the team who saved Trevor.”

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