On the 23rd January 2019, Mike Hitchcock suffered a near fatal heart attack at his home. His wife, Dolores, performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived.
Dolores shares her memories of the day’s events:
“Mike is a volunteer driver with Bishopstoke Good Neighbours Scheme. On the morning of 23rd January, he took a lady to Southampton Eye Hospital. We had lunch together when he returned and then went for a short walk. It was a normal day for us.
“Upon returning home, I busied myself on the computer. Mike walked into the lounge and then suddenly collapsed. There was no warning, he hadn’t said he felt funny or poorly. He just fell.
“I realised he had not fainted and started CPR straight away while reaching for the phone and dialling 999. I spoke to the operator on speakerphone and confirmed I was still doing chest compressions.
“I carried on until the paramedics arrived, about 10-12 minutes later, then they took over and shocked Mike several times.
“Two more paramedics arrived and were doing all they could to resuscitate him. Then the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance arrived in the Critical Care Team Vehicle. The Critical Care Team got to work on Mike. By this time, almost an hour had gone by since he had collapsed and there seemed little hope.
“The Critical Care Team asked me to prepare myself and sit with Mike as they had tried everything, but the team were not giving up. They injected Mike once more and unbelievably they managed to get a pulse!
“Mike was taken to Southampton Hospital by Ambulance and the Air Ambulance Critical Care Team went with him. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Trainee Paramedic, Sophia, drove me to the hospital in the Critical Care Team Vehicle. She was lovely and kept talking to me all the way.
“Mike was in the Intensive Care Unit on life support for five days. I stayed with him for two days and two nights. I was worried I would not have the chance to be with him again.
“He was woken up on the fifth day and though we were prepared for the worst, not knowing if he would regain brain function or wake at all, he amazed us all by responding to questions from the physio. Mike couldn’t talk because of the breathing tube in his throat, so he made the sign that he wanted a pen and paper. One of the nurses got some for him and haltingly, he wrote my daughter’s name.
“She had been with me every day but had to go back to work that day and he knew she was not there.
“After a week, Mike was transferred to the cardiac High Dependency Unit (HDU) and then onto the cardiac ward.
“He had a defibrillator fitted inside his body under his left arm with wires going into his heart, so should his heart stop again, this will direct an immediate shock.
“Mike was discharged after 18 days and is now on the road to recovery. The care he received at the hospital was second to none, he was in the best hands.
Saying thanks to the paramedics and to the Critical Care Team, who never gave up on Mike, even though he was unresponsive for so long, doesn’t seem enough. He owes them his life.