Simon’s story

It was just a normal day at the office for Simon Munford and his colleagues. But as the clock ticked towards the end of his working day, Simon’s “dramatic exit” from the second floor into an awaiting ambulance has had a lasting effect on him and his colleagues.

50-year-old Simon from Southampton has been sending people to the four corners of the world as part of the booking team at Regent Seven Seas Cruises since 2013 – the Norwegian Fjords are his favourite, in case you’re wondering.

Sat at his desk on Wednesday 27 September 2023, Simon suddenly stopped. He stuck a hand in the air and let out a loud yelp. In an instant, he slipped from the comfort of his chair onto the floor beneath him.

This was no longer a normal day at the office.

A call for help

For the first time in his life, Simon was having a seizure. His colleagues rushed to his aid and dialled 999.

Fortunately, two South Central Ambulance Service paramedics were around the corner and by Simon’s side within five minutes of the call. The HIOWAA dispatcher, scanning hundreds of 999 calls, was alerted to the potentially life-threatening incident by the ambulance crew on scene.

It was clear to them that Simon needed emergency critical care.

The air ambulance team, who were flying back to base in Thruxton, Andover, were diverted to the unfolding scene.

Landing in Watts Park, Dr Vic and Specialist Paramedic Ben made their way to Simon.

“The crew arrived and began monitoring me and assessing my condition,” said Simon.

“They sedated me with strong medication (Ketamine) to make me safe and comfortable. Once I was stable, they hurried me into the ambulance and off to the emergency department. Speed was of the essence.

The crew loaded Simon into the ambulance and travelled with him to hospital – a tactic often used so they can maintain his stability and continue providing specialist critical care en route.

While he was in hospital, however, Simon suffered another seizure. He was intubated and transferred to the Intensive Care Unit.

“I was in hospital for two-and-a-half weeks having scans to work out what caused it,” he said.

I never expected anything like this to happen to me. It was completely out of the blue.

“But the level of care I got from everyone, whether it was from the team at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance or in the hospital, was brilliant. They were all there when I needed them.”

A marathon challenge

Inspired by the events that happened before their eyes, Simon and 30 of his colleagues have signed up to various stages of the Southampton Marathon – 5K, 10K, half and full marathon, respectively – on Sunday 7 April to help us be there for patients like Simon.

The team have so far raised £3,477 – enough to fund an emergency mission.

“None of us realised Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance was a charity,” said Simon.

“I’m humbled that everyone wants to get involved and do their bit for the service that helped me. I’m touched, to say the least, by how many people have dived in and raised money. I feel very lucky.

“It’s vital that people donate where they can, because it can make all the difference. You never know when you’re going to need it.

Follow the team’s progress or support them by visiting their fundraising page.

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