Local man’s life saved by charity after heart attack while out walking dog

Published: 2nd April 2024

A local man is expressing gratitude to the North West Air Ambulance Charity (NWAA) for saving his life after he suffered a major heart attack while out walking his dog.

Mark Barrett, who was 55 at the time of the incident, was walking his dog in the Lake District when he suddenly felt his heart pounding and began to sweat profusely. Recognising the severity of the situation, Mark’s wife immediately called for an ambulance.

Within 10 minutes, paramedics arrived on the scene and quickly assessed Mark’s condition, realising he was experiencing a major heart attack. Describing his heart as ‘tombstoning’, the crew knew they needed to get Mark to the hospital as soon as possible.

When the critical care paramedics arrived on scene, they could see that Mark was having a heart attack. The best course of treatment was to take him to a specialist cardiac centre. The crew transferred him from the land ambulance to the air ambulance, but as the engines started, Mark lost consciousness. He had gone into cardiac arrest and had no pulse.

Critical Care Paramedic Caroline said: “We could see that he had no pulse, the ECG monitor showed that his heart had gone into a chaotic rhythm, known as ventricular fibrillation. Without immediate treatment, it is likely that he may not have survived. We shocked him with a defibrillator which enabled his heart to return to normal function.”

Thanks to the skill and expertise of the NWAA crew, they were able to restart his heart, ultimately saving his life. Mark recalls the moment when the air ambulance crew put a cannula in his right wrist and worked on him for about an hour before he lost memory of the events.

Due to Mark’s location, the nearest cardiac specialist centre was Blackpool Victoria Hospital, the journey via a land ambulance would have taken over 90 minutes. Within that 90 minutes Mark’s condition may have worsened, thankfully the NWAA crew were able to fly him to the best hospital within just 14 minutes.

Despite being technically dead upon arrival at the hospital, Mark made an astonishing recovery and was back home just a few days after the incident.

Now 59 years old, Mark is now able to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, like walking his beloved dog as well as his passion for golf. Thanks to the lifesaving work of the charity, Mark is now back to playing golf 3-4 times a week. This is a significant milestone, as he had to temporarily give up golf immediately after his heart attack.

As the North West Air Ambulance Charity celebrates its 25th anniversary, Mark’s story serves as a reminder of the charity’s dedication to saving lives and providing critical care in emergency situations. NWAA has been on countless lifesaving missions over the last 25 years, just like Mark’s.

Reflecting on the incident, Mark said: “I am incredibly grateful to the NWAA crew for saving my life and getting me the medical attention I needed so quickly. Without their quick actions and expertise, I might not be here today, enjoying life to the fullest.

“Their professionalism, dedication and compassion are truly unmatched. I will forever be grateful to them for giving me a second chance at life. Thank you, North West Air Ambulance Charity, from the bottom of my heart.”

As part of its 25th birthday campaign, NWAA is calling for individuals to submit their own stories of survival and gratitude for the charity’s lifesaving efforts. To learn more about North West Air Ambulance Charity, follow this link

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