Following on from your article about my husband, Gilberto Rodrigues dos Santos, (Man saved by lifeguards returns to say ‘thank you’ click here to read) I would like on his behalf to thank all the people who helped us on the day (September 5) that he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at the beach in Eastbourne.
I would also like to highlight that his survival that day was truly remarkable.
According to the British Heart Foundation, less than 10 per cent of people suffering an out of hospital cardiac arrest in the UK survive.
Moreover, every minute that passes without the person affected receiving CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival.
After 10 minutes, death is highly likely.
That Gilberto survived his cardiac arrest that day owes much to the people who rallied round and to the excellent performance of the lifeguards, emergency services and Eastbourne DGH.
While my sister and I were still struggling to take in what had happened, three wonderful people sitting near us on the beach came to our aid and called the lifeguards as well as the ambulance service.
Thanks to their action, the lifeguards arrived within just a couple of minutes equipped with a defibrillator and oxygen canisters.
After four minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and two electric shocks from the defibrillator they got Gilberto breathing again.
The team of paramedics who arrived later included a specialist in dealing with heart problems.
He was able to give Gilberto specialised treatment suited to his condition.
The team liaised with the Eastbourne DGH to ensure that Gilberto went straight to the coronary care unit, where he received excellent care so much so that he was able to be discharged after just three days, pending further tests.
My sister and I also received assistance from a police community support officer with a caring, reassuring manner who drove us to the DGH so that we could meet the ambulance as it arrived.
That day we received the best possible standard of support and care from the public services and experienced true kindness and help from complete strangers.