“What we’re here for”: Call Handler Zoe helps to save patient’s life

It is the call that no one wants to make for a loved one.

But when Barry Salisbury collapsed at home on 9th April after complaining of chest pain, his wife Tracey knew something was seriously wrong.

Despite being “hysterical”, she phoned 999 where she spoke to Call Handler Zoe Shawki, who urged her to listen and answer her questions - and instructed her to start CPR.

Barry’s heart had stopped just before 6am at their home in Neatherd Road, Dereham. But thanks to the instructions of Zoe and initial CPR by Tracey, they managed to keep the blood circulating his body until the first ambulance crew arrived six minutes later.

Two ambulance crews and Critical Care Paramedic Chris Neil used the Lucas 2 machine to get Barry’s heart beating again after three shocks from a defibrillator.

Barry, who has three children, Ellie, 18, Lilly, 16, and Lewis, 9, was discharged from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital just eight days after being admitted and having a stent fitted.

The 54-year-old has also returned to full-time work at Ernest Doe in Wymondham.

The family met with Zoe last week (11th August), to say thank you for her part in saving Barry’s life.

Tracey said: “I was hysterical. If I was doing CPR on a stranger it would have been easier, but because it was a loved one it was much more difficult.

“I remember unlocking the door and I kept asking if I was doing the CPR right.

“I was in pieces and I could not have done it without Zoe. When I rang she spoke to me firmly and that was exactly what I needed.”

Zoe added: “Tracey was brilliant. She listened and answered all the questions and started CPR as I counted one-two-three-four. She did everything right.

“We get a lot of calls, but a cardiac arrest sticks in the mind. We are trained to help and that is what we are here for to give those life-saving instructions.”

Pictured: Lewis, Barry, Zoe and Tracey

Published 22nd August, 2015

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