Barry man reunited with his lifesavers
8:32am Thursday 6th February 2014 in News
A BARRY scout leader proved it pays to be prepared when he helped save the life of a dad whose one daughter attended his group.
Community first responder Bryan Foley, who works full-time as a mortgage advisor and volunteers as a 11th Barry Sea Scout leader, helped save dad-of-six Wayne Jones when he suffered a cardiac arrest at his Barry home.
Bryan arrived on scene, within minutes of receiving the alert, and began the life-saving chain of events while realising he already knew family members.
The 45-year-old granddad-of-16, 44 years old at the time of the incident, had woken up feeling unwell, on April 17 last year, and had made himself a coffee before he collapsed in the living room at his home on Gilbert Street in Barry.
Two of Wayne’s eldest sons found Wayne collapsed and one dialled 999 and began to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with support from the Welsh Ambulance Service call handler.
Minutes later, community first responder Bryan Foley made his way to the property and delivered two shocks to Wayne using a defibrillator.
Paramedic Steve Magee and emergency medical technician Adrian Pagano arrived in an ambulance and delivered a third shock, which produced a heartbeat.
Wayne spent four weeks – two in a medically controlled coma – at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, before he was healthy enough to return home.
Wayne this week, now at home and recovering, paid tribute to Bryan and the life-saving team, when they were all reunited for the first time since his brush with death.
Wayne said: “I owe the crew a big thank you for everything they did. I would not be here today without them.
“I’d had high blood pressure and quite a few weeks later I woke up in the Heath. I don’t remember anything about it.”
Wife Michelle, 48, said: “My one son picked up on it because he put his coffee on the floor.
“He had woken feeling really unwell and had gone downstairs to make himself a coffee. The next minute I was being called by our son because he was unconscious.
“We’re just so grateful for everything that Bryan and the crew did, they were amazing.”
A cardiac arrest happens when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body.
There are approximately 8,000 sudden cardiac arrests annually in Wales, and the person may suffer permanent damage to the brain and other organs unless someone starts CPR immediately.
It can also sometimes be corrected by giving an electric shock through the chest wall, using a defibrillator.
Bryan, 52, said: “I didn’t need an alarm that morning because I got a call from control to say there was a cardiac arrest in Barry.
“As soon as I saw the house, I realised who it was because I go back many years with the family.
“It was daunting, a kind of ‘Oh sugar. Are they still here?’ When they opened the door it was ‘Aah’ and you just really go onto auto pilot.
“I delivered two shocks to Wayne and did two cycles of CPR, but he wasn’t responding.
“It was at that stage that Steve and Adrian arrived and took over.”
Paramedic Steve, now a clinical team leader, who has worked for the trust for eight years, added: “Bryan did an excellent job, which meant we were in a really strong position when we arrived at the scene.”
Community first responders, like Bryan, are volunteers who give up their spare time to attend appropriate 999 calls and give first-hand emergency care to people in the community.
Volunteers are trained by the Welsh Ambulance Service to administer basic first aid, oxygen therapy, CPR and the use of a defibrillator.
First responders do not replace the normal response of a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle or an emergency ambulance, but support the patient until they arrive.
Bryan said: “It’s good to be part of a team that you can actually see making a difference. Having first responders in the community means giving someone a fighting chance of survival.
“It’s good to see that Wayne is putting his best foot forward.”
First responders in Barry are preparing to mark the tenth anniversary of their inception in June, and are recruiting more members to celebrate.
Barry currently has around 32 Community First Responders and is one of the busiest schemes in Wales attending to more than 1,000 patients in the town each year.
Bryan is one of the leading responders in the team.
Wayne has made a slow but steady recovery from his cardiac arrest, and enjoys gardening and spending time with his grandchildren to build up his strength.
Visit www.barry-responders.org.uk for more information on signing up, or the ‘Community First Responders’ section of the Welsh Ambulance Service website for more information on the role.