Cardiac arrest is probably the most serious type of medical emergency. It is literally a heart-stopping event, and the chance of survival is slim.
But since he came through a triple cardiac arrest earlier this year, Ronnie Lee says his life has been transformed for the better.
“If I could turn-back time and stop it happening, I wouldn’t,” says the 40-year-old from Gloucester.
“My life was in a downward spiral. I wasn’t looking after myself, and I was praying to God for help.
“This is the biggest second chance I could have asked for.
“My life has changed for the better. I have stopped smoking, and I’m trying to lose weight. I feel like a totally different person now. It’s been the blessing of my life.
“I know I wasn’t supposed to die that day,” he added. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone. I’m alive.”
Ronnie experienced pain experienced pain in the centre of his chest when he was at home in March. He called South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) for help.
He spoke with 999 call handler Steph Ruby, but the pain worsened and he had difficulty breathing. Ronnie was having a heart attack.
Neighbour Andy Evans came to his aid, and continued the emergency call until crews arrived.
Paramedic Aimee Scott and ambulance crew Lauren Gardner and Rebecca Crabb treated Ronnie at his flat and conveyed him to hospital. They were supported by a volunteer community first responder.
But when Ronnie’s heart stopped in the ambulance, the situation became even more critical.
Thankfully the paramedics managed to restart his heart by giving him immediate CPR and shocks with a defibrillator.
His heart stopped twice more in the ambulance, but on each occasion the paramedics managed to resuscitate him.
After being stabilised in Gloucester Royal Hospital, he was transferred to Bristol for surgery to unblock two of his arteries.
Despite being briefly re-admitted to hospital in August, Ronnie has been able to do much of his recovery at home.
He visited Staverton Ambulance Station on Wednesday 23 October to thank the ambulance team in person.
Paramedic Aimee Scott said: “Ronnie recognised something was wrong and dialled 999. He was supported by his caring neighbour who stayed on the line with the Control Hub until assistance arrived.
“Ronnie was experiencing a Myocardial Infarction (heart attack). He was extremely unstable, resulting in him going into cardiac arrest multiple times in the ambulance. This required us to complete immediate CPR and defibrillation. Thankfully we were able to achieve ROSC, which is a spontaneous return of circulation.
“As he remained unstable, we had to divert to the nearest hospital for staff to stabilise him and continue with his care prior to a secondary ambulance transfer to the heart specialists.
“Ronnie proves that starting the chain of survival with early CPR and defibrillation improves patient outcome. It is an honour to be part of such a fantastic team where we have achieved such an amazing outcome. I am grateful that I have been able to meet Ronnie and see how well he is doing!”