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Port Talbot Supermarket Staff Commended for Quick-Thinking Actions

Supermarket workers who came to the aid of a customer in cardiac arrest have been praised for their quick-thinking actions.

Staff at Tesco in Port Talbot gave CPR to a man who had collapsed in the car park and delivered two shocks using the store’s defibrillator before the arrival of an ambulance.

Colleagues also made a makeshift helipad to allow for the safe landing of the air ambulance.

Today, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Chief Executive Jason Killens visited the store to extend a thank you for their efforts.

Members of staff from Port Talbot with Jason Killens, Chief Executive of WAST

Jason said: “Every second counts in a cardiac arrest, and the way that colleagues worked together to begin the chain of survival gave this patient the best possible chance

“They’re a shining example of what to do in this sort of scenario, and they should be really proud of their actions.”

A rapid response car, an emergency ambulance, and an air ambulance were dispatched to the Prior Street supermarket after the 999 call in October.

Community First Responder Ashley Page supported Paramedic Richard John in the rapid response car, which arrived within six minutes of the call.

Ashley, who is also an allocator in the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen, said: “When we arrived, good quality CPR was in progress by store staff and an off-duty South Wales Police officer.’

“The store’s defibrillator had already given the patient two shocks, and staff had cleared an area for us to work on the patient and had also made a makeshift helipad.’

“Their collective efforts on that day gave the man a fighting chance, and made the ambulance crews’ job so much easier.”

Today, Chief Executive Jason Killens was joined by the High Sheriff of West Glamorgan, Joanna Jenkins, to present staff at the store with a commendation.

Joanna said: “What store staff and the off-duty South Wales Police officer achieved that day is very impressive.’

“CPR and the use of the store defibrillator, as well as the creation of a makeshift helipad, demonstrate that everything possible was done to assist the customer.’

“This commendation is richly deserved. Many congratulations.”

Store manager Mandy Walsh added: “I am incredibly proud of how our team responded to this emergency.’

“We have trained first-aiders in all our stores in case someone does become ill, but the way our whole store worked together to help this customer is a credit to the professionalism of every colleague involved.”

Cardiac Arrest Survivor Thanks “Humble Heroes” For Saving His Life

A 54-year-old man whose heart stopped beating for 21 minutes has thanked London Ambulance Service staff that helped save his life.

Nicolas De Santis, a tech entrepreneur, was working at home in his study when he started to feel slight discomfort in his chest which he brushed off as an infection or bad cold.

Elliott Clark,
LAS Call Handler

Fortunately for Nicolas his daughter, Alaia, 22, was also at home that day in December 2019, and had gone to check on him before they went out to dinner when he collapsed in front of her.

She immediately dialled 999 and followed the advice from London Ambulance Service call handler, Elliott, who began to talk Alaia through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

She said: “When I saw my dad collapse, I knew something severe had happened to him.’

“I had never learnt CPR before, but, I knew I had to act quickly as he was not breathing.’

“The call handler kept me calm and helped talk me through what to do.”

As Alaia continued to give chest compressions to her father, medics Kirsty, Junaid, John and Vijay arrived.

Junaid, an Advanced Paramedic for London Ambulance Service, recalled that day: “21 minutes is a very long time for someone’s heart to stop beating.’

“Every second counts when a person is in cardiac arrest and good chest compressions — like those Alaia gave — helps to resupply the heart and brain with vital oxygen.’

“Alaia’s quick actions that day truly saved her father’s life.”

Left to Right: John, Vijay. Nicolas and Alaia, Junaid, and Kirsty

After the medics helped to stabilise Nicolas, they rushed him to hospital where he was put in an induced coma. He spent a month recovering in an intensive care unit. The doctors said he had suffered a cardiac arrest because of a blocked coronary artery.

Nicolas De Santis in the ICU

Nicolas, who lives in Mayfair with his wife, Melissa Odabash, and his two daughters, Alaia and Avalon, 18, says the incident has made him see the world a little differently.

“I left this life for 21 minutes. I realise how lucky I am to be alive, and life really is much more beautiful than it was before.’

“The way I see it I came back to understand how precious life really is,” he said.

Recently Nicolas visited London Ambulance Service’s HQ to meet the staff there that helped to save his life that day.

He said: “It has been so important for me to be able to thank them. Without them I’m not sure I would have survived. I call them my ‘humble heroes’, because they really are heroes and so humble.”

Since recovering Nicolas wants to raise awareness of the importance of cardiac health and learning lifesaving skills such as CPR.

He said: “I’m a 54-year-old man, fairly fit, play football every weekend and look after myself with a healthy diet. I never thought anything like this could happen to me. It is totally unpredictable.’

“And that’s the point, you never know who it could happen to or when, so that’s why it’s so important to learn these skills. As sadly, you’re much more likely to have to save someone close to you — a friend or family member.”

Not only has Nicolas thanked the ambulance service for saving his life, he says he is indebted to his daughter: “I have said to her, whatever she wants, she can have!

“I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me another chance at life and the opportunity to see my daughters grow up, get married and graduate. I am so grateful to everyone that day.”

Nicolas and Alaia