A Holbeach mum who collapsed while doing some last-minute Christmas shopping has thanked the heroes who saved her life.
Rachel Ingall (35) suffers from atrial fibrillation, a heart condition which causes an irregular and sometimes abnormally fast heart rate.
The people who helped me saved my life. If I had been on my own my heart could have stopped.Rachel Ingall who collapsed while out shopping due to a heart condition
In her case this can lead to episodes of ventricular standstill, a rare side-effect where the heart can basically stop beating.
She was out at Springfields in Spalding with her youngest daughter Ariel (3) on the morning of December 18 when she started to feel unwell.
Rachel said: “I’d just bought a raffle ticket from LIVES (emergency services charity), when I got a sudden pain in my chest. It was like a vice and it got increasingly worse.”
Emma Tancred, a first responder with LIVES, realised something was wrong and asked her colleague Dave Lea to call for an ambulance.
She said: “I noticed Rachel looked in pain so asked if she was okay or needed some help. She explained she suffered with a heart condition but usually episodes passed quite quickly.”
Emma helped Rachel into the Chapelle Jewellery shop nearby and tended to Rachel while shop staff and Springfields security staff looked after her young daughter.
A crew was also dispatched from Spalding Fire Station as a rapid response while the ambulance was on its way and fire fighters treated Rachel until paramedics arrived.
Rachel said: “The people who helped me saved my life. If I had been on my own my heart could have stopped. The staff in Chapelle’s looked after Ariel and kept her calm. One of the people from LIVES read her a story.”
Rachel was taken to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital for care and is due to have a cardiac monitor called a LINQ loop fitted in the new year.
Engaged to fiance Sylvester Okwuadi, Rachel has another daughter Trinity (7) and works as a healthcare partner at Lloyds Pharmacy in Spalding Market Place.
She said: “Trinity knows what to do if I collapse. She knows to call 999 and we are hoping to get her trained in children’s CPR.”
First responder Emma said: “Although I had no equipment I was able to use the knowledge and skills I had been taught by LIVES to monitor Rachel’s condition and was able to give all the information initially to the co-responders, then the EMAS crew.
“I was just pleased that I was in the right place at the right time to be able to help Rachel and the amazing team that were there from LIVES along with the staff at Springfields who were able to care for her daughter.”
Fire crews are trained to work in partnership with EMAS and LIVES in Lincolnshire.
Pete Wiles, deputy divisional commander at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Where a co-responder fire crew can be on scene before the nearest ambulance or paramedic, responders can administer life-saving First Aid and stabilise a situation until advanced medical care arrives.
“We respond to cardiac and respiratory arrest and similar life-threatening emergencies within eight minutes of a call and 21 out of 38 fire stations currently operate the scheme. The Spalding crew who attended this incident have themselves responded to 700 calls during 2017.
“We are proud of all of the crews who respond in this way and routinely save lives. Some of the people they have helped would undoubtedly not be here today without them.”