Tourist is living la dolce vita thanks to life-saving interventions

Italian tourist and paramedics

Thanks to our paramedics Kendal and Debbie, an Italian tourist who collapsed unconscious and stopped breathing at Stansted Airport is due to live his ‘dolce vita’ back at home.  

Antonio Perrelli went into cardiac arrest whilst using the airport’s Track Transit System on 20th August, but has made a remarkable recovery, and met his lifesavers from the airport and the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) on Saturday 23rd September. 

And in a poignant coincidence, the airport’s Customer Service Ambassadors who rushed to his aid had been taught their skills by none another than EEAST’s Commercial Training Team just two years ago. 

Paramedics Kendal Lavery and Debbie McDonald, both based at the airport under a new contract this year to provide rapid 999 cover, were dispatched to the patient at just before 8pm. 

Debbie said: “When we arrived, the train had been evacuated and screens were arriving and the airport’s Customer Service Ambassadors were there with a defib and doing chest compressions on Antonio who was laying across a bench/seat. The airport team had been first on scene and were carrying out CPR and reassuring Antonio’s daughter who was travelling with him. 
“After we got him to the floor, the airport ambassadors continued CPR while we attached our defibrillator pads. I updated ambulance control that we had a confirmed cardiac arrest and required assistance.” 

Debbie and Kendal worked on Antonio to give him advanced life-saving treatment, and also got the help of a nearby police officer to assist. In the dramatic moments following, the patient was ‘shocked’ three times and by 8.07pm, they had achieved an output, meaning he had a pulse again.   
Debbie added: “The patient was responsive to his name and we were continuously reassuring him he was ok. The air ambulance landed, and another crew and duty officer also arrived. The critical care team on the helicopter sedated the patient, and I left to bring the ambulance airside. The patient was still very unwell of course, so in light of this he was flown to hospital.” 
Antonio met the teams at the airport just before boarding his flight back to Italy with daughter Daniela, who had been with him when he went into arrest.  

Debbie added: “[The meet up] was one of the proudest and emotional days of my life. We fought for his life giving every ounce of energy and emotion we had. To see him breathing, walking, smiling, happy, talking and his heart not only beating but filled with gratitude was the best feeling in the world.” 

Customer Service Experience Manager Rebecca Dow, who was at the scene assisting the crews, said: “Our ambassadors receive excellent First Aid Response training by EEAST but they rarely face a situation like this during a shift.  I was incredibly proud of my team, they acted brilliantly and showed determination and professionalism to ensure the patient survived.”   

Other airport passengers who helped with first aid and translation at the scene are being thanked by the airport for their assistance. 

Published 11th October 2018

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