accessibility & help

David's story: first aider provides personal touch

21 May 2010

Hands clasped togetherAfter his wife suffered a near-fatal seizure, David was left feeling traumatised and helpless – until volunteer Jimmy Connolly popped round to provide some one-to-one first aid training.

David*, who lives in London, was out for dinner when his wife suddenly became very ill and was rushed to hospital. The incident left David sorely traumatised – and his subsequent visits to his ailing wife only increased his anxiety about how he might cope when she was finally discharged.

During her stay in hospital, David was a constant companion to his wife. But as he prepared for her impending return home, he was at his wit’s end worrying about what he would do if another sudden emergency occurred.

Life-saving skills

Luckily, a thoughtful neighbour put David in touch with the Red Cross – and he was soon chatting to first aid co-ordinator Alison Roche. She recalled: “When I spoke to David, he was clearly very distressed and just wanted to know what to do. In exceptional circumstances like these, you need to be flexible to try and help really vulnerable people.”

And so, before long, Jimmy was on his way for a special one-off session on life-saving skills. He said: “Our session included bleeding, shock, the recovery position and resuscitation. I felt David needed more information about what actually happens during a seizure and how to deal with such a situation until an ambulance arrives.”

David also had a friend present, which really helped, as he could practice putting his friend in to the recovery position and providing CPR treatment.

More confidence

Jimmy recalled: “Afterwards, David seemed more cheerful and said – although he was still worried – he felt much less so. Basically, he felt more confident about his ability to cope with and react to a life-threatening situation.

“He even asked if I could come back as he had a network of friends who were willing to help with his wife and could do with some training as well.”

*Name has been changed

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