Earlier this year in the summer (2018), Noel Roberts was spending a wonderful week in the South Hams, on holiday from his home in Hertfordshire. He was enjoying a morning cup of coffee in a very popular cafe, when he was stung on the lip by a wasp.

Realising instantly that he was having a very unusual reaction to the sting, he went into the café to ask for help. The café’s first aider, Lucy Culkin, administered antihistamine tablets straight away, but within just a few minutes, Noel collapsed unconscious on the ground.

Lucy immediately recognised that Noel was having an anaphylalactic episode and had gone into shock. Coincidentally, Lucy’s father Mark, the café owner, carries an Epipen, so Lucy administered that to Noel. However, Noel still didn’t respond, and Lucy realised that his breathing and his heart rate were slowing.

Requesting further help from other bystanders, a lady who had a nut allergy produced another Epipen, which was administered too. 

A First Responder arrived and placed an oxygen mask on Noel, which began to help. Devon’s Air Ambulance also arrived and the paramedics, Paul Robinson and Mark Hawley, administered intravenous antihistamine and steroids. Gradually, as the medication started to take effect, Noel began to feel better.

Ensuring that Noel was out of danger, the aircrew paramedics transferred Noel to the waiting land ambulance, which took Noel to Derriford Hospital. The air ambulance then flew off to help another patient in need. Thankfully, Noel made a full recovery. He has since followed up the incident by seeing an allergy specialist.

Have you been airlifted by us? Because of patient confidentiality we only hear from around 15% of those we airlift. If you have a story you'd like to share then we would love to hear how you are now. You can thank you the crew too. Our Patient Liaison Officer, Debbie, is available to support patients and invites those we airlift - and their families - to an airbase visit.