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01.10.2015

Sussex dad reunited with ambulance crews

For a father of four, a night of celebration at his daughter’s college Leavers’ Ball became even more memorable for all the wrong reasons.

During the evening Mike Champain, from Ardingly, West Sussex, suffered a cardiac arrest but decisive action by the South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust crews, Mike was able to thank them personally at an emotional reunion at Crawley Ambulance Station recently.

“So many people were in the right place at the right time that night and I am so grateful to them all for their support, care and expertise; college staff, ambulance staff and surgeons,” said Mike.

Mike was with his wife Kate and his eldest daughter Caitlin at the Ardingly College Leavers’ Ball in July, when he started to feel unwell and an ambulance was called.

Technician Alison Smith was first to arrive on scene, closely followed by ambulance crew Sam McCreesh (Paramedic) and Jade Paul (Technician).

It was while they were carrying out an assessment that Mike suffered the first of four cardiac arrests. He was shocked 11 times with a defibrillator as the crew battled to get his heart back into a normal rhythm.

With Mike’s condition unstable, the team met up with critical care paramedic team Stuart Plumbley and Chris Roots while en route to the Royal Sussex County Hospital. They provided further treatment as Mike arrested again.

“They are truly brilliant people and there is no doubt their skill and persistence ensured I got to the operating theatre in Brighton, where the surgeons could complete the task of saving me,” said Mike.

The 51-year-old, who is managing director of his own business, had two stents put in his arteries during a 45-minute procedure which restored a good flow of blood to the heart.

Mike added: “It had been an emotionally-charged day marking the end of both Caitlin and son Callum’s time at the college. It was going to be a day to remember for us all and that is certainly how it turned out.

“During the dinner I left the marquee as I was not feeling well, I was looked after by college staff who immediately called the college doctor and then for an ambulance. Both my arms were aching and I had pins and needles in both hands and chest pain. I think I knew very well what was going to happen and was absolutely terrified of the outcome.

“Fortunately the ambulance was called quickly and two physicians from Brighton Hospital, who were attending the ball as guests, recognised what was happening and were able to help calm me and let the ambulance crews know what to expect.

“I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me that evening. It’s amazing to be given a second chance. I’m now feeling much better and have started back at work. The whole family is hugely grateful.”

Paramedic and Clinical Team Leader, Chris Roots said: “It is great to be able to meet up again with Mike and Kate and to see him doing so well. It gives us a tremendous boost when we get such a fantastic outcome.”

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