National Volunteers' Week - Ben's story

Photo of Ben Lavender and quote

As a volunteer Community First Responder (CFR) you are often asked ‘why do you do it.’ You give up your free time, the role is unpaid and you’re often dealing with difficult, emotional situations. 

For Ben Lavender, a CFR in the Manea team, the answer is simple, because it saves lives. Ben explains how his attendance at one call really did make all the difference to his patient.  

‘Earlier this year, I received a call to respond to a 67 year old man who was experiencing chest pains and profuse sweating. 

‘I arrived at the patient’s home in 12 minutes and his family directed me upstairs where the patient was on a bed in one of the bedrooms and, quite obviously, in a lot of pain. 

‘Upon entering the room I witnessed the patient having a seizure and clearly going into cardiac arrest, having called the AOC for back up I began treatment. After one shock from the defibrillator and about 15 chest compressions he regained consciousness and was able to talk. I made him comfortable, administered oxygen, and monitored him while we waited for the ambulance to arrive. 

‘About 10 minutes later the first crew arrived, but as they walked into the bedroom the patient suffered a second cardiac arrest. Luckily, my defibrillator was still connected to the patient, so I was able to administer a shock and resume CPR until the patient regained consciousness again after a quick round of compressions.

‘Once the ambulance crew and air ambulance team had carried out a more in-depth examination of the patient, they were happy to transport him to hospital for further treatment. After further tests he had coronary stents fitted and is now making a good recovery at home.

‘I can’t speak for all volunteer CFR’s, but in my case, this is why I do it. Arriving on scene first and providing assistance in those first few minutes can make all the difference to our patients and being able to provide that additional level of support for our EEAST colleagues before they arrive is hugely rewarding.’

Published 3rd June 2021