On 5th April 2019, Craig Harris suffered a cardiac arrest at his workplace at Stanmore Industrial Estate in Bridgnorth, aged 44.
Captain Tim Jones, Dr Adam Low, critical care paramedic Kerry Penn-Ashman and Dr Mike Prosser, a pre-hospital emergency medicine trainee were deployed to the incident from the charity’s RAF Cosford airbase.
Dr Adam Low said: “Craig’s story reinforces the importance of bystander CPR as his work colleagues who were trained first aiders had started chest compressions immediately and attached an automated external defibrillator. We continued their hard work and delivered nine shocks in total to get his heart back into a normal rhythm.
“Throughout our efforts, Craig was showing signs of consciousness, which presented an additional challenge but reassured us that if we could stabilise him, he may have a good outcome.”
To enable the aircrew to keep him in a stable condition, Craig was given midazolam, an advanced sedative drug that can only be administered by doctors or critical care paramedics, before being given a strong anaesthetic and a procedure called ‘rapid sequence induction’, to allow the crew to completely take over his breathing and continue to keep him stable.
While in this condition, he was transferred directly to the Cardiac Angiography Suite at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton where he received treatment for a blockage in one of his main coronary arteries.
In October 2019, Craig went to visit the aircrew that attended his incident at the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity RAF Cosford base.
Dr Adam Low added: “We were honoured to meet Craig, his parents, wife and sons when they visited us on base. He looked very well and was back at work! This case epitomises the reason I do this job and the importance of the fundraising efforts of the charity and all those who generously support it. I wish Craig and his family all the very best in the future.”
Craig said: “It was overwhelming to meet the aircrew; it was quite emotional for me and my family to go and say thank you. They were brilliant, as were the hospital team at New Cross Hospital.
“Physically I’m good, I’m healthy, it’s the emotional scarring now. I was 44, quite active and in a physical job, I couldn’t get my head around why this happened to me.
“Something like this makes you appreciate everything, especially the little things.”
Craig’s incident highlights how immediate bystander support can give a patient the best possible outcome and increase their chances of survival before the arrival of advanced clinical care teams.