Those that have attended one of the many Lazarus first aid training courses, really appreciate the “trainforreal” scenarios. Equally, they understand the importance of those soft, reassuring skills, that can really make a difference to somebody that has suddenly become critically ill.
Last Monday morning whilst preparing the training room for 18 people, who were joining us for a first aid at work course, I was suddenly overwhelmed by excruciating chest pain. After spending many years in the NHS ambulance service and having past experience of a heart attack, I knew that I was in a serious condition. At that very moment, I was lucky that members of the Lazarus team were at the office. They sprang into action, as if they were playing out a “train for real” scenario. Except this wasn’t role play and as a team, they hadn’t rehearsed. They seemed to know instinctively, what was expected of them.
Alistair, knowing that the office was a safe environment, moved quickly onto assessing my response, airway, breathing and circulation. At that time, I was alert (remember AVPU). I clearly had a patent airway but my breathing was rapid and uncomfortable. He then took the first radial pulse. These actions were repeated continuously until the Paramedic arrived.
After a 999 call was made, Riana went to reception to await the arrival of the emergency services. For those of you that have been to our training centre, you’ll know that it’s a bit of a labyrinth and without Riana’s assistance, the Paramedic would have wasted valuable time trying to locate the office.
Paul, with whom I was sharing the training duties and had first realised that something wasn’t right had the difficult job of explaining to and calming down 18 people who had arrived for their first aid course only to discover that one of the trainers was in a potentially life threatening condition and was in fact receiving first aid. Although I suspect that being a retired sub-officer from Essex Fire & Rescue, he was calculating the best way to remove the roof.
Whilst all of this was happening, of course I was petrified and this is where two special ladies, Alison and Samantha stepped up. They both held my hand, reassured me, kept me calm. They made me smile, they made me laugh. Their presence and demeanour, took my mind off what was a scary situation. Those soft skills, which were a massive part of my own ambulance service training, were of equal importance as the clinical assessments being undertaken by Alistair.
I must have drifted into semi consciousness because for those of you that remember AVPU, Alistair was noting my response to pain by pressing firmly on my clavicle. When the Paramedic first administered morphine and asked me to score my pain, I gratefully confirmed that the chest pain had subsided to a manageable 5 but Alistair’s interpretation of P, hovered stubbornly at around the 9 mark. Those army guys must be made of iron.
Alison accompanied me in the ambulance and whilst the crew were attending to my medical needs, she continued to keep me smiling. When my wife and daughter arrived at the hospital, it was Alison who greeted them with a reassuring smile and hug.
In truth, I needed to undergo diagnostic tests that could only be carried out in hospital using equipment that costs hundreds of thousands of pounds but had it not been for the actions of Paul, Alistair, Riana, Alison and Samantha, I might not have been in such a good condition when the emergency services took over and that, is what good first aid is. That, is what you will learn from a Lazarus first aid course.
My family and I owe a big, big thank you to the Lazarus staff that were in the office that day but I know that had it been any of the others that weren’t there, they would have acted in just the same professional and caring manner. So I’d like to big up each and everyone of them.
Claire, Kelly, Natalie, Mick, Mark, Minty, Tony, Barry, Chris, Leeroy, Tom and Thomas.
Garry- first aid trainer at Lazarus Training.
We are happy to confirm that Garry is fine and has returned to work, at the time of writing he is in Glasgow providing trainforreal scenarios for a media client.
If you would like to know more about our # trainforreal approach to our first aid training call us on 0800 242 5210 or visit our training scenarios page.