Tony’s heartfelt gratitude to life-saving friend

A community first responder for North West Ambulance Service saved the life of a dear friend who suffered a cardiac arrest.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 4:19 pm
Tony and wife Janet (central) are reunited with left to right: Senior Paramedic Team Leader Damian Walsh, Community First Responder Peter Gregory, Paramedic Mark Jackson and Emergency Medical Dispatcher Shelley Buckley

Peter Gregory, 68, gives up his time to respond to emergencies in his local community and when his pager alerted him in on June 26 to an emergency nearby, he rushed to the scene.

Recognising the address in Crank near Billinge, Peter arrived to find friend of 40 years Tony Foster, 76, breathless and in pain. Just minutes after arriving, Tony suddenly stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest.

Acting swiftly, Peter started life-saving CPR and using his automated external defibrillator delivered a single shock which got Tony’s heart beating again.

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An ambulance crew arrived shortly after and Tony was fully alert and speaking. They were able to stabilise him and rush Tony to hospital where he underwent a stent procedure followed by a double heart bypass.

Now Tony has been reunited with his life-savers, giving him the chance to offer his heartfelt thanks.

Peter is one of two CFRs in the Rainford area who respond entirely voluntarily to emergencies in their community. They have also been providing free first aid training in the town so that as many people as possible are aware of the simple skills needed to save a life.

Peter said: “In the event of a cardiac arrest, a patient’s chance of survival drops by 10 per cent for every passing minute and therefore it’s so important that people know what to do even before the ambulance arrives and are confident enough to use these skills.

“I met Tony when we worked together in the police force and have stayed friends ever since so dealing with an incident when it’s someone that you know very closely certainly adds an extra dimension.”

Tony, who is now recovering well, said: “I cannot express the gratitude I feel towards these people, the work they do is incredible and I am truly thankful.

I am in no doubt at all, and neither is my wife, that had it not been for the initial intervention and then the continued care, I wouldn’t be here.”

For details about becoming a community first responder, visit www.nwas.nhs.uk/volunteer