Island volunteers rally to help a patient in need

Christine Cheetham Mersea CFR

Community first responder Christine Cheetham has been praised after finding herself at the centre of an unusual island rescue.

Christine went above and beyond the call of duty to help get a patient in need to hospital after the only road onto Mersea Island near Colchester flooded during an exceptionally high tide.

With crews unable to reach a man who had fallen and injured his shoulder, Christine was called as the on-duty community first responder (CFR) and didn’t think twice about helping out.

“We don’t normally get called to people with fractures but the man was in quite a lot of pain and couldn’t sit down,” said Christine, an outdoor education instructor at Mersea Outdoors.

Christine attended the patient’s home and strapped up his arm before driving him to a waiting lifeboat, negotiating the island’s network of flooded coastal roads with directions and guidance from the control room.

The patient was safely handed over to a waiting West Mersea lifeboat and then transferred to an ambulance on the mainland at nearby Peldon.

Nicola Young, EEAST duty control centre officer, said: “It is reassuring to know that we have a large group of people across the region dedicated to offering their time and services to people within the community, for life threatening emergencies but also to assist their community in times of need such as this one.

“Our normal practice would not normally include the deployment of a community first responder to a patient with a fracture, but in this circumstance we were faced with challenging circumstances and were fortunate enough to have a volunteer available within the area to not only attend to this patient but also help get him to a rendezvous area agreed with the coastguard.” 

Published 16th June 2015 

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