A Pembrokeshire dad-of-three has thanked the emergency services that helped save his life.
In February, Dai Davies was getting ready for bed when he suddenly collapsed and had a cardiac arrest.
Dai’s wife Taryan and son Caleb, 18, helped save his life as they performed CPR on Dai whilst waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
When the paramedics arrived, Dai’s heart was in an abnormal rhythm and not beating normally.
The paramedics took over resuscitation, delivered two shocks and the second shock brought his heart back into a normal rhythm.
When the Wales Air Ambulance Charity helicopter arrived with its overnight critical care team – Dr Matt O’Meara, Critical Care Practitioner Marc Allen and pilot Nobby Norris – Dai started to come around and became agitated and wasn’t breathing effectively.
They rapidly assessed him and found his oxygen levels were low and needed to take over his breathing.
To do this they gave him a general anaesthetic and then placed him on a ventilator to breathe for him.
The procedure is delicate, complex and time-critical.
It is only possible outside of a hospital environment through the Wales Air Ambulance and the fact that they have experienced consultants on board.
It is one of the many emergency department-standard treatments that the Charity is now able to deliver at the scene of an incident – improving the chances of survival and recovery.
Once the on-scene treatment was complete, Dai was airlifted directly to the cardiac centre at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.
The flight from his home in Neyland to hospital took just 25 minutes by air, a journey that would have taken approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes by road.
Speaking of the lifesaving service, Dai said: “I am forever grateful to the ambulance service and the Wales Air Ambulance for the work they did and to get me to the hospital as quickly as they did.
“I really appreciate everything they’ve done for me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.”
The father-of-three was a keen runner and cyclist before he was taken ill, reflecting on whether there were any signs that could have indicated a potential problem, Dai said: “I had a pain in my back whilst I was refereeing a match about five years ago.
“I had MRI scans and physiotherapy and continued to live with the on-off pain.
“Since it happened, I’ve been reading up on cardiac arrests and these symptoms were a big indicator.”
The learning support assistant, at Haverfordwest High School, underwent surgery to have three stents put in and was discharged from hospital a few days later.
He said: “I’m feeling okay. I’ve had three stents put in, lost 10 kilograms in weight through cardiac rehab and cut out all the nice things.
“My wife has also bought me a new peloton bike to continue my fitness at home.
“My children, Chloe, Caleb and Aidan, all notice a change in me since the cardiac arrest, they think I’m more placid now.”
Throughout his recovery Dai recieved expert guidance and help by having personal training from cardiac rehabilitation instructor Dave Braithwaite.
Dai is now looking forward to the future.
Jo Yeoman is a patient liaison nurse who works in partnership with the Wales Air Ambulance Charity.
She said: “We are delighted to see that Dai is on the road to recovery.
“Dai’s story demonstrates the vital chain of survival, from CPR, defibrillation and then critical care.
“Taryan and Caleb were incredible and the partnership work between the Wales Air Ambulance and Welsh Ambulance Service medics ensured that Dai had the best possible care before reaching the specialists at Morriston Hospital.
“The Wales Air Ambulance Charity introduced an overnight helicopter in December 2020, making it a 24/7 service.
“The Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to maintain the 24/7 operation and Dai’s story highlights the importance of having an air ambulance service that runs during the night as well as the day.”
Christian Newman, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Locality Manager in Pembrokeshire, said: “In a cardiac arrest, every second counts, and the CPR started by Dai’s wife and son gave him the best possible chance of survival.
“Our joint efforts with Wales Air Ambulance colleagues, and later the care that Dai had from the specialists at Morriston Hospital, just goes to show how important partnership working is to a patient’s care.
“We wish Dai all the very best on his continued recovery.”
(Lead image: Welsh Ambulance Trust)
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