Woman meets SAS responder who saved her life


A woman who had a cardiac arrest in the Botanic Gardens has been reunited with one of the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) staff members who saved her life.

Jeanne Reilly, of Berkshire, recently returned to Edinburgh with family and friends to attend the unveiling of a new defibrillator installed at the same location where she collapsed on July 30 last year.

Her friend Jane Wood, who was with Jeanne when she went into arrest, instigated the efforts to have the defibrillator installed, and raised £2086 through family and friends.

A retired GP and an off duty doctor performed CPR immediately and used a nearby defib while an emergency call was placed with the Scottish Ambulance Service, which was received by Lindsey Brady, of West Ambulance Control Centre (ACC) in Glasgow.

Aidan Colliar and Audrey Michie, of the East ACC in Edinburgh, then dispatched Nickie Crowe, on a Paramedic Response Unit, and ambulance crew Ian Harwood and Ricky Moffat, of Dalkeith Station.
They arrived within two minutes of the call being received and Jeanne was transported to hospital and “kept alive” in the ambulance on the way to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Jeanne said: “I was very pleased to see the newly installed defibrillator at the Terrace Café and it was a privilege to meet ambulance crew member Ian in person.

“We have all since spoken so fondly of the opportunity to meet together. Shiona Mackie, the retired GP, met us all again shortly after and gave us a tour of the Botanics in her capacity as a volunteer tour guide - that was special too.

“I was thrilled that Ian had driven so quickly from the Botanics to the Hospital. Putting names to faces and filling in some gaps in my experience has given me a sense of peace.”

Speaking of the cardiac arrest, she said she was given CPR and a defibrillator was used prior to the crew arriving. She added: “They arrived very quickly and then took me to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, giving me another shock in the ambulance. I spent 12 days in hospital, have a stent and ICD fitted and I am on the mend to lead a normal life again. I owe my life to all involved. I have been able to thank others personally, and my family and myself send thanks and more to the crew.”

She said it was vital for people to learn CPR skills for this year’s Restart a Heart Day on Sunday.
“Had it not been for the quick thinking of everyone, I would not be back to enjoying life. The expertise of the ambulance paramedics kept me alive while I made the journey to the Edinburgh Infirmary. The medical team in ICU took over from there.

“I hope that more people are educated about where to find a defibrillator and how to use one, so that the percentage of those who survive a cardiac arrest out of hospital can increase.”

To find out more about CPR, visit the Save a Life for Scotland website at www.savealife.scot

Posted on 16/10/2022