Why we fly
The air ambulance critical care doctor gave me drugs which helped my condition and the speedy transfer to hospital was crucial in the chain of events that saved my life
As a medical professional, Coalville GP Sean Ottey knows exactly what difference being flown to hospital by the local air ambulance made to his recovery after he suffered a cardiac arrest whilst exercising.
“It’s all down to time. Getting the right treatment as quickly as possible is absolutely crucial in terms of minimising damage to the heart muscle, memory and brain,” he explains.
Sean (53) was flown to Derby Royal Infirmary in just 12 minutes by Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance after the helicopter was called out to Hood Park Leisure Centre in Ashby-de-la-Zouch – where Sean was taking part in a high intensity training session.
“The air ambulance critical care doctor gave me drugs which helped my condition and the speedy transfer to hospital was crucial in the chain of events that saved my life,” he says.
Sean “felt absolutely fine” on the morning in August this year when he was taking part in the weekly class, he has attended at the local leisure centre for the past 15 years.
“I remember doing a backward lunge and the next thing I was waking up in intensive care,” he says.
There is a history of heart problems in Sean’s family and despite him being a non-smoker, not obese and exercising regularly he believes “it is inevitable that I would have had a cardiac arrest at some point.”
Looking back now he says that he “was in the right place at the right time” when it happened as the leisure centre staff were First Aid trained and did CPR on him straight way.
“If I has a cardiac arrest when I was out walking on my own in the middle of nowhere the outcome would have been completely different,” he says.
Sean spent over two weeks in hospital – 48 hours in an induced coma – and during that time he had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and stent fitted.
Three months later (December) he is walking up to five miles a day, following a programme of cardiac rehabilitation exercises and says he feels “generally well”. He hopes to return to work in the New Year.
Members of the exercise class he was attending at the time of his cardiac arrest have raised funds for Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and Sean is encouraging others to support the charity.
“If it wasn’t for the air ambulance, I wouldn’t have made such a good recovery. I am so grateful it was there when I needed help. It would be nice if it was funded by the Government and it is a big shame that it isn’t so let’s keep raising as much money as we can so the charity can keep helping other people,” he says.