Wednesday, 14 October 2015

My First 999 Call

This post was definitely not in my schedule for this week. In fact, I had never planned to post anything like this, ever. However, life has a funny way of panning out sometimes and when you wake up bleary eyed, desperate for coffee in the morning you never think that the day ahead is going to be anything more than ordinary. On Monday morning, I was forced to take on my toughest bout of "adulting" yet when I had to call 999.


My friends Hannah, Anna, and I were walking to our next class at Uni like we always do on a Monday morning. As we waited at the traffic lights to cross the road, we saw a boy facing us at the other side. When we looked closer, he looked really unwell and his eyes had started rolling in the back of his head. We ran across to the other side but before we got there he had collapsed and hit the ground quite badly. When we reached him he was unconscious and unresponsive. Autopilot mode kicked in straight away and before I knew it my phone was in my hand and I was asking an operator to send an ambulance. 

I had never phoned 999 before so had no clue what to expect. I felt like I had so much responsibility and was so worried I was going to do something wrong. The operator asked me loads of questions and gave me a list of instructions. The guy kept drifting in and out of consciousness so couldn't answer us, meaning I had to get up close and personal with the twenty-something stranger and find his pulse (which was insanely hard by the way) and hold his hands to see if they were clammy. It was a great bonding experience for all involved. It turned out the guy has a heart condition and has a defibrillator implanted in his heart, so everything started to make sense.

After what felt like an eternity, but was actually more like 15 minutes, the ambulance arrived and defibrillator boy, I use this term affectionately, was taken away. He had given us all quite a scare and a small crowd had started to gather. Everyone starting hugging and being so lovely and supportive even though we were all strangers. It was a touching reminder of the power of humanity if I ever did see one. I felt so relived and a total sense of accomplishment. Even though I'd been calm for the whole ordeal, now that it was over I started to shake and didn't stop for the next hour!

I couldn't concentrate for the rest of the day and was desperate to find out if defibrillator boy was ok. I called the nearest hospital to see if I could get any information, but without the guy's surname, they couldn't tell me anything. In a weird coincidence, it turned out that Hannah has a friend who knows defibrillator boy. So a couple of Facebook messages later, we were able to find out his full name. I called the hospital again (they were probably sick of me) armed with my new info and they let me know that he had been admitted. However, through the wonders of technology, I could now find him on Facebook too. He got back to me a few hours later and let me know that, thankfully, he's ok but did have to stay in hospital (I mean he did basically cardiac arrest in the street so it makes sense). He was so chilled and funny about the whole situation so I'm so glad everything worked out in the end.

I'm not writing this post and telling this story to gloat because, lets face it, anyone with a phone could have called an ambulance, it's not rocket science. But that's my point, it could have been anyone with a phone...aka you! Most of the time, your adrenaline will kick in, and you will handle the situation effectively but I just wanted to remind you of some things in case you ever find yourself in the situation.

1. Don't Walk Away

I know this seems obvious and your initial reaction would be "I would never!". However, if I'm honest, at first, we were unsure if defibrillator boy was on drugs because of his symptoms. This made us scared to go over to him but we knew, regardless of if he'd taken something or not, he definitely needed medical attention. Often, when diabetics have an episode, people mistake them for being really drunk because their behaviour can be similar. *I'd also like to point out that defibrillator boy was not under the influence of anything*.

2. Stay Calm

It's so so easy to panic in this high stress situation but it's really not going to help anyone and in some cases, you might be someone's only hope so you have to keep it together. Once it's all over, that's when you can have a cry, or be sick, or shake until your hearts content. 

3. Don't Move Them

Growing up in a medical family, this is one thing I've always been told. If you see someone lying on the ground, make sure their comfortable but don't move them. If they've had a fall they might have injuries and if you get them up too quickly, they might collapse again.

4. Hands Only CPR 

Thankfully, we didn't have to try CPR on defibrillator boy because even though it was really irregular, he was still breathing. However, you never know when you might be the only one around when someone takes ill and you may have to attempt it, even if you haven't been trained. When I came home, I watched this amazing British Heart Foundation advert again just to refresh my memory so I urge you to take a minute to watch it, you might save someone's life! 

Thanks for reading! 



  1. Well done on acting in exactly the right way. I've never had to call 999, but even as a final year medical student I think I'd be a bit nervous! Great to hear that this story also had a happy ending :)
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

    1. Aw thank you! Wow I'm sure you'll have your fair share of life saving to come. Good luck! Xx


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