A First Responder’s Story – Cardiac Arrest

Adam Hurt recalls his first call-out to a cardiac arrest as a community first responder within the #LUCFR scheme:

“It was my first shift, Aradyha’s second, we had been waiting for an hour for a call out. Suddenly the siren sounded from our phone, we had been called to an incident. We grabbed our bags and rushed to the car. We had been told it was a head trauma, priority purple, just down the road. Navigating the one-way systems of Leicester, while talking through how we should approach the patient, was tough. Adrenaline was flooding our bodies. We arrived outside the incident, where an ambulance had already arrived, but there was no space for us to park. I jumped out to join the ambulance crew, while Aradyha parked up. I walked in to see around 100 people crowding round the patient, who was lying on the ground, and two paramedics midway through chest compressions. I leapt to their side, introduced myself to the closest of the two and explained that I was a First Responder. I was met with relief and was asked to take over with the compressions on the chest.

I have practiced CPR on mannequins many times with other volunteer agencies, lifeguard training and at medical school, but this was the real thing and I felt a lot of pressure. This was a real person. A human-being, in need of help. Help that that I can provide. I placed my hands on the chest and commenced compressions. I was counting out loud up to 30, but the ‘teens seemed to pass so quickly…time wasn’t working properly. I stopped as the paramedic squeezed the bag of air to fill our patient’s lungs…twice…I continued with 30 more compressions on the chest. I felt some of his ribs crack. I had been told numerous times that this was perfectly normal, and even a sign that it’s being done properly, but it still unnerved me. I almost wanted to stop. But I remembered my training. I continued. A few cycles of more compressions and breaths later Aradyha arrived and took over from me; swapping over every few minutes.

After around 20 minutes, during which another ambulance crew arrived, we managed to get a pulse. We had got a return of a heart beat! The patient was quickly moved onto a stretcher and whisked off to hospital.

I don’t think I will ever forget this experience, and feel even more motivated to log onto a shift and await a call to respond.”