Ambulance crew’s dash to save baby suffering cardiac arrest.
On 18 August at 22.51 hours South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) Emergency Call Taker Marsha Williams answered a 999 call from an address in Abingdon, Oxfordshire where a 10 month old baby was experiencing breathing difficulties. Ambulance Technician Kate Ellis and her crewmate Emergency Care Assistant Mike Buckland from the Trust's South Oxfordshire Resource Centre were immediately dispatched to the scene having just cleared another job in Abingdon involving a drunken patient.
When Kate and Mike arrived on scene 4 minutes and 5 seconds later to find the baby's mother standing outside jumping up and down and waving frantically they instinctively knew that something was very wrong. Kate ran in to the house to find 10 month old baby Eloise laid on the sofa. Eloise was barely breathing and she was pale, salivating and unresponsive. Kate immediately picked her up and placed her on the cot in the ambulance where she and Mike gave her oxygen and an ECG, checked her temperature and attempted to check her airway to rule out any obstruction. This proved difficult as Eloise's jaw had locked. Kate knew Eloise needed to be in hospital but needed to do her job and find out what was wrong with her. All the time Kate attempted to keep Eloise's parents 31 year old Michael and 29 year old Charlotte Wilmshurst fully informed of what she was doing and why.
Kate asked Mike to drive the ambulance as quickly as he could to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and pre-alerted the ED department that the crew were inbound with Eloise who was very poorly. Kate kept reassuring Eloise's parents en route to the hospital whilst suctioning Eloise's airway, monitoring her respiration rate and other vital signs. Eloise deteriorated en route hospital and Kate put a second call into the hospital informing them that the baby was very unwell and getting worse, arranging for the doctors to see her straight away and informing the hospital that Kate would be taking baby Eloise straight to Resus.
Thanks to Mike and his driving skills the ambulance arrived at John Radcliffe hospital at 23.22 hours, a mere 31 minutes after Eloise's parents had initially dialled 999.
Ambulance Technician Kate Ellis continues the story:
'Just as we arrived at the hospital baby Eloise went into cardiac arrest. I scooped her up in my arms and ran with her to the ED department where a team of doctors was waiting for her. Within seconds the doctors had ventilated baby Eloise, administered adrenalin to her and began CPR in an attempt to revive her. Four cycles of CPR later baby Eloise's heart started to beat and she was back from the dead.'
Charlotte Wilmshurst, Eloise's mother said:
'We'd had a bad week. Michael had lost his Grandpa on Tuesday. Saturday we'd come home from a family barbecue and Eloise seemed fine when we put her to bed around 8.30pm. A little after 10.30pm Michael went to check on her to discover she was having febrile convulsions. She was grey. Her eyes were glazed and we thought perhaps she'd swallowed something. Michael and I stayed with Eloise while my best friend dialled 999 for an ambulance.
'The ambulance crew and the resus team at John Radcliffe Hospital were just amazing. We'll be eternally grateful to them all from the bottom of our hearts. Little Eloise wouldn't be here without them.'
Last word goes to Aubrey Bell, SCAS Area Manager Oxfordshire who said:
'I am delighted for Eloise and her family. I pay tribute to the ambulance crew for their professionalism in the most pressured and emotional of circumstances. It's particularly gratifying to see such a fantastic outcome in such a challenging situation.'
Eloise has made a remarkable recovery and is now back home in Abingdon with her parents and her 5 year old sister Abigail.
Published 3 September 2012