Pensioner John says he’s “a living example of the lifesaving work the local air ambulance does.”
A year ago on 02 July, retired retail manager John Putt from Rugby was airlifted by Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA).
“Every time I see the helicopter fly over I am just so grateful that it came to me. I am a living example of the lifesaving work that they do,” he says.
John (83) collapsed in the grounds of Compton Verney art gallery when they were being used as a location for the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.
He was on his way back to the car park having had some of his collection of 1930s coffee cups valued and filmed.
John has the lung disease COPD and finds it difficult to walk uphill without getting breathless.
“I suddenly felt as though I was going to pass out so I stepped on to the grass. That’s the last thing I remember until I woke up in hospital,” he says.
Had John been at home alone – which he would have been if he wasn’t at the event – he could have died. He had suffered a cardiac arrhythmia which can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.
Bystanders started CPR on him immediately and a paramedic working for the television company took over his treatment until a land ambulance and the helicopter arrived at the scene.
John had a very low pulse rate when the air ambulance critical care team took over his care and he was given a drug to increase his heart rate. He was also attached to specialist equipment to regulate his heartbeat if necessary.
The air ambulance crew stabilised John and he was flown to University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire where there is a specialist cardiology department.
Due to the popularity of the Antiques Roadshow, there were queues of cars entering the site and heavy traffic in the immediate area so transporting him by air was the quickest way of getting him to the urgent medical care he needed.
Two days after being admitted to hospital John underwent an operation to have a pacemaker fitted and after a few days recovery on the wards, he was allowed home.
“There is no doubt in my mind that going to Compton Verney that day saved my life. Had I been on my own at home I would have died. I am very happy to still be alive,” he says.
John and his wife Madeleine are regular supporters of the local air ambulance charity.
“We have always felt very sad that the country doesn’t finance the helicopters and so we make donations to help keep them flying,” he says.
Your local air ambulance recently reached its 40,000th mission milestone, If, like John, you have been one of our 40,000 missions, and feel able to share your story, please do get in touch. Sharing patient stories helps us raise awareness and vital funds for our lifesaving service. Click here to find out more