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Right place, right time for Westbourne Centre patient

Dr Peter Cooke, 86, suffered a cardiac arrest shortly after arriving for a routine follow-up appointment. The Centre’s staff recognised the heart attack warning signs and were able to save him.

Right place, right time for Westbourne Centre patient

It was a case of right place, right time for 86-year-old Peter Cooke after he suffered a heart attack while attending a routine medical appointment at a private clinic in Edgbaston.

Peter, who had carpal tunnel surgery in November 2016, was returning to The Westbourne Centre for a follow-up appointment when he began feeling unwell. Despite struggling with breathlessness on his journey, he was determined to continue to the Centre.

Upon his arrival, the receptionists at the surgical day centre spotted signs that Peter might be having a heart attack and called the centre’s nurses and the anaesthetist on duty, Jonathan Hulme, to assist. Peter, however, was deteriorating very quickly and an ECG confirmed he was indeed having a heart attack.

The series of unfortunate events took a turn for the worse as Peter’s heart stopped and he went into cardiac arrest, a life-threatening situation from which many people don’t survive. The nurses and anaesthetist immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and used the defibrillator to try to revive Peter, shocking him a total of three times as his heart started and stopped again more than once.

Peter was in cardiac arrest for just under 10 minutes. For every minute that goes by in many cases of cardiac arrest survival decreases by 10%. The best way to survive a cardiac arrest is to have people immediately present who are willing and able to do CPR which doubles the chance of survival and to get a defibrillator shock as soon as possible. Luckily, Peter had both of those that day.

Paramedics arrived shortly after his heart had been restarted, and as it continued to beat, Peter began to come round again and started breathing on his own. He was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to unblock an artery in his heart (the cause of his heart attack and cardiac arrest). He then spent some time in intensive care, before being moved to a ward. After just a couple of weeks, Peter was back at home with his wife Diana and has already resumed some of his hobbies such as playing the recorder and gardening (recently planting his leeks!).

Peter later visited The Westbourne Centre to offer a special thanks to those who helped him that day. He said: “There are two very good reasons why I survived that traumatic day. Firstly, a kindly office receptionist, Lynn Scott, noted my distress in the street outside her office at Five Ways, took me inside and immediately summoned a taxi to take me the extra few hundred yards to the Westbourne Centre.  The second was, of course, the prompt and highly professional treatment administered by the Centre’s wonderful team.  I can’t thank them all enough.”

Dr Hulme, Consultant Anaesthetist, who assisted Mr Cooke that day said: “I am so pleased to see Mr Cooke looking so well following the incident. I am in little doubt that if he had had the cardiac arrest whilst walking to us rather than at the centre, the outcome could have been very different.”

Viv Heckford, Clinical Director at Ramsay Healthcare (who own part of The Westbourne Centre), commented: “I am delighted that Peter was in the right place at the right time and the staff at the centre were able to give him the support that helped him. An emergency like this is rare and I am very proud of all the staff who helped him. It is a testament to their training and professionalism that the outcome was so positive.”

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