Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

December 18, 2005
Burnham-On-Sea ambulance boss saves his father in heart attack drama

The boss of St John Ambulance in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge has saved the life of his father in his own ambulance, we can exclusively report.

Keith Gough pictured with his father, whom he saved in the back of his ambulanceKeith Gough, the Divisional Superintendent for St John Ambulance, treated his father, Peter, after the 66-year-old suffered a heart attack.

Keith gave emergency defibrillator treatment in the ambulance which ultimately saved his life.

Wife Claire told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "If you are looking for a local hero, then my husband should be put into this category."

She said: "Keith is qualified to St John A&E level AA2 and he has defibrillator training too. Little did he expect that when he had to do it for real that the first patient would be his own father."

Claire, who is also a member of St John and was in the ambulance at the time, explains how the incident unfolded: "We were out doing first aid duty at a fireworks display and just as we were about to leave, Keith received a phone call from his mother to say that his father needed to go to hospital and had severe 'back pain'."

The St John Ambulance involved in the incident"As we had the ambulance out, we said that we would take him as we had pain relieving gas onboard."

"His mother did not want to wait and called for Keith’s sister. When she arrived at the house she decided that he was in far too much pain to be taken in the car and decided to wait for Keith."

"We arrived soon after Keith's sister and put his father on the trolley cot and started off to Weston General Hospital with Keith driving, his sister in the front, and his mother in the back with myself."

"We got as far as Lympsham when Keith’s father arrested. Keith had to stop driving and get in to the back of the ambulance and use the defibrillator on his own father."

"This re-started his father’s heart after the first shock."

Keith with his wife, Claire"Keith’s sister by this time had called for the paramedics who arrived very quickly, by which time his father was conscious again."

"Most people would freeze when they see their first heart attack - even if they have done some first aid training, not in the least if it was someone from your family."

"Keith was very calm and all the training he has received truly paid off."

The happy end to the story is that Keith’s father is now back home and doing very well, looking forward to a happy Christmas with his family.

By telling the story, Claire hopes it will spur on others in the Burnham area to take first aid training.

"If this story encourages maybe just one person to learn first aid then that may mean another life is saved," she said.

Keith says he gave his father the same quality treatment he would give to any patient, adding: "The training put me on to auto pilot. When I got into the back of the ambulance, I performed a check for breathing and signs of life."

"Not finding any, I told Claire to hurry up swapping from Entonox (50% Oxygen and 50% Nitrous Oxide) to 100% Oxygen as she had already got the Oxygen mask out."

"I got the Defib out of its cupboard and hooked it up. It then analyses the heart rhythm."

"When the defibrillator told me that it was charging ready for a shock it really hit me that this was for real and not a training run."

"It did not hit me what I had done until after I had handed over to the very professional staff in Weston A & E."

.Appeal for a new defibrillator

The story is all the more topical as St John Ambulance in Highbridge is currently raising money to buy a new defibrillator as its current one is now more than eight years old.

Cheques can be made payable to 'St John Ambulance' and sent to St John Ambulance, Bank Street, Highbridge, TA9 3DA. Any money received will be earmarked for the new machine which costs £1,800.


St John Ambulance Highbridge and Burnham Division


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