On Thursday 3 January at 1225 hours I was on shift at the Exeter airbase when we were tasked to go to Okehampton. We were deployed just one minute after the 999 call was received. The call advised that an elderly man had stopped breathing.

We are continuously looking via our HEMS desk (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) at the best possible tasking to incidents, where speed really can make a difference. Recently we have expanded upon our deployment into Devon’s town centres, targeting patients who stop breathing or are suffering cardiac difficulties. Working in partnership with paramedics from the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust who may also be at the incident, the air ambulance is able to offer not just enhanced clinical care to the patient, but also a much quicker journey time to the most appropriate hospital, for those patients every second counts. This was one of those occasions.

The patient was situated in the town centre, but the nearest appropriate landing site was in Simmons Park. This therefore meant that my colleague Nigel Lang and myself had to run, carrying all our equipment, approximately 400 metres in order to reach the patient.

Although the patient had stopped breathing, he was successfully resuscitated and conveyed to the RD&E Hospital emergency department team.

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