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Pembroke paramedic honoured for saving colleague’s life

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A PARAMEDIC from the Welsh Ambulance Service who turned saviour for her colleague as he was choking has been awarded a Chief Executive’s Commendation for her actions.

Hayley Bennett, 39, from Pembroke, came to the aid of her colleague Gareth Jones after a very lucky chain of events led to them being partnered up together for a shift.

Hayley explained: “I was working an overnight shift in Pembroke Dock and a colleague had unfortunately called in sick so I was left on my own.

“Gareth was over in Tenby part way through his late shift and when he heard I was solo he phoned our duty manager and it was agreed after my next job I would head over to Tenby to team up with Gareth to form a conveying emergency ambulance resource.

“It was around 8pm when I walked in and Gareth was sat eating his dinner.

“We began talking and he just started choking.

“I knew he was in trouble straight away.

“His face was bright red and his eyes were bulging.

“He’d jumped out of his seat and was hammering on his chest.”

Gareth’s airways were completely blocked and quick-thinking Hayley took action immediately.

“I was on him in seconds,” she said.

“Back slaps to start with, and really shouting at him to cough as he was trying to breathe in.

“I moved on to the Heimlich Manoeuvre but it dislodged nothing.

“I returned to back slaps quickly and eventually he vomited which cleared his airways.”

Recalling the event, Gareth, 42, who has served 21 years with the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “It frightened the hell out of me.

“I felt like I was going.

“I’d read about the impending sense of doom in text books, and that’s exactly what I had.

“I’m eternally grateful to Hayley.

“Without her my wife would be a widow and my kids would have no father”.

After the incident, the pair stood there in disbelief and both have since admitted that what was over in a couple of minutes felt like a lifetime whilst it was happening.

Hayley said: “I think it felt like such a long time as we were there alone.

“It was one of the most bizarre things that’s ever happened to me – I’ve never had to work on a colleague before.

“It was shocking really, I wasn’t supposed to be there.”

Gareth said: “Someone was looking after me that night.

“They would have found me dead on the station floor if Hayley hadn’t arrived as there was no other medically trained people there that night.”

Whilst Gareth was recuperating, the radio went off and a top priority Red call had come in.

So whilst still reeling from the shock and with Gareth physically recovering, the pair rushed to their ambulance and set off to a seriously ill patient.

“I was still coming down really,” said Gareth.

“I had what was called inspiratory stridor or a high pitch voice as the airway was still partially obstructed.

“It took a little while for that to go.

“Hayley got me a drink and I was starting to feel a little better when I heard our pin number on the radio.

“Hayley joked it was for me, but we were on our way to a Red call.”

Gareth went on to make a good recovery and has recently completed a Masters in Advanced Paramedic Practice.

Hayley continues to work relief shifts around Pembrokeshire, juggling ambulance shifts with paramedic husband Mike and caring for her young son and older step daughter.

Hayley received her award on Tuesday from the Trust’s Chief Executive Jason Killens in a ceremony at Tenby ambulance station.

Jason said: “Gareth was really lucky that Hayley arrived and was able to administer that crucial first aid.

“Choking is something that can happen to anybody and it is important the public are aware of correct procedure should an emergency like this occur.

“I congratulate Hayley for stepping in and halting what could have been a disastrous outcome for Gareth, his family and his colleagues.”

Receiving the award Hayley said: “It’s a lovely gesture and I feel very honoured.”

Choking – Do you know what to do?

·        Do you know what to do in a choking emergency? Here’s what you should do if you witness an adult choking:

·        If you think someone is choking, ask them “Are you choking?” If they can breathe, speak or cough then they might be able to clear their own throat. If they cannot breathe, cough, or make any noise, then they need your help straight away.

·        Cough it out: Encourage them to cough and remove any obvious obstruction from their mouth.

·        Slap it out: If coughing fails to work, you need to give five sharp back blows.

To do this, help them to lean forwards, supporting their upper body with one hand.

·        Squeeze it out: If back blows fail to clear the obstruction, give five abdominal thrusts.

To do this, stand behind them and put your arms around their waist.

Place one hand in a clenched fist between their belly button and the bottom of their chest.

With your other hand, grasp your fist and pull sharply inwards and upwards up to five times. Check their mouth again, each time.

Get help: If the blockage has not cleared, call 999 for emergency help straight away. Repeat five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until help arrives, re-checking their mouth each time.

If they become unresponsive at any point, prepare to start adult CPR.

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Ultra-runner demonstrates to never give up on your dreams

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Rhys O’Mara (Left), Sanna (Centre) and Hollie Thomas (Right)

INSPIRATIONAL speaker Sanna Duthie recently inspired Military and Protective Services learners at the College with her story of running the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in a record breaking 51.5 hours without any sleep, to help raise money for the Welsh Air Ambulance.

Former College learner Sanna Duthie, an office manager by day and active runner by night, shared her experience of running the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in record breaking time. Sanna had participated in a few marathons over the years such as Tenby Long Course Weekend, the Gower 50 and the London Marathon.

However, the real adrenaline rush to complete the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path was when Sanna competed in a 100 mile race of the coastal path in 2017.

“I realised I wasn’t too bad at that distance and then that’s when I got it in my head about doing the whole thing.”

Running a coastal path isn’t the easiest challenge and Sanna had to be prepared with an extensive training programme running over 300 miles a month equivalent to 10 miles a day. Sanna also had strength and conditioning training at a local gym to ensure her successful recovery.

“Coast running is hard on your muscles and joints and you need to strengthen those in order to not get injured,” said Sanna.

Originally Sanna started to run the entire coastal path in August 2020 but after 63 miles had to abandon the race due to dangerous weather conditions. This only made Sanna more determined and she completed her ultra-run on 8 th May 2021.

Sanna explained the highs and lows of the run, “There were times when I just wanted to quit, and I even started to hallucinate but I used a tactic where rather than focus on the whole run I broke it down into sections – this made things less overwhelming. Close friends and family would join alongside me on different stages of my run, and this motivated me to get to the finish line.”

Protective services learner Rhys O’Mara was thoroughly inspired by Sanna’s story, “I feel like, from the talk, I’m more inspired to go out and push myself to take on bigger and better physical challenges, the talk really showed that you can achieve anything when you dedicate yourself to a task. After College I’m looking to join the RAF as a drone pilot and have a full career in the forces.”

Sanna was the first female to run the entire coastal path and breaking the previous record of 64 hours and 32 minutes and raised an impressive £5,768.14 for charity.

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Sport

Veteran Vikings beaten by Swansea

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HAKIN United Over 40s travelled to the Llandarcy Academy of Sport last Sunday (Nov 28) to play Swansea University.

Hakin took the lead inside 10 minutes as Matthew Price raced clear of the Uni defence before side footing the ball into the bottom corner.

A great start for the Veteran Vikings, but on the half hour mark, two quick goals for the Swansea men turned the game on its head.

A third goal just before half time put Swansea firmly in the drivers seat, but, the Hakin players felt that the goal was offside and that there was a handball in the build-up.

However, despite all of the protests, the goal stood.

Hakin looked far more purposeful in the second half, but they failed to find a goal that was going to get them back in the game.

Hakin are next in action on Sunday, December 12, when Church Village visit the Obs.

Hakin 40s: Jim Payne, Nick Jones, Adam Collins, Ali Davies, Paul Hannon, Marc Devonald, Simon Atyeo, Mark Riley, Paul Jones, Matthew Price, Phil Richards.

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Sport

Pembrokeshire Junior Netball League results

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IN the Pembrokeshire Junior Netball leagues on Saturday (Nov 27), there were wins for Sapphires White Under 12s and Pembroke Under 14s.

There was also a win for Fishguard Under 16s as they beat Pembroke 28-24.

Results for Saturday, November 27:

Under 12’s:

Sapphires White 7-4 Chaos Thunder

Players player:

Sapphires: Orla Maulio Martina

Chaos: Annabel Richards

Under 14’s:

Pembroke 23-17 Sapphires White

Players player:

Pembroke: Carys Kenniford

Sapphires: Florence Barker

Under 16’s:

Fishguard 28 v 24 Pembroke

Players player:

Fishguard: Evie Rands

Pembroke: Megan Bowen

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