Lunch hour lifesaver

Students practising resuscitation

Lunch time took an unexpected turn for an off duty first aid trainer who found herself calling on her own skills to save a life outside a packed London tube station.

Tracy Cutting, 37 and from Westcliff, had only recently started her new role for St John Ambulance in London in York Street, when she found herself needing to show her abilities for real.

Running an errand in her lunch break, Tracy came across an elderly gentleman, slumped over a bollard, close to the tube entrance in the pouring rain, unable to open his eyes and repeatedly vomiting.

While many passed by without a second look, Tracy knew something was seriously wrong. Taking control of the situation, she introduced herself as a trained first aider and was able to ascertain that the casualty had acute Ménière's disease, which can affect hearing and balance and cause extreme dizziness and tinnitus.

While the elderly man had taken medication, this was having little effect and his responses were slowing down. With the help of his friend, who arrived on the scene, Tracy supported him to a nearby office block to shelter him from the rain and called an ambulance.

When the paramedics arrived Tracey was able to provide them with a full brief of the gentleman’s condition, aiding them with their onwards care.

Recounting her experience, Tracy said: 'I was shocked to see so many people pass by when someone was clearly very ill. To me it is second nature; it is what I know best.

'Interestingly it really put elements of the courses that we teach into perspective. The delegates have been interested in hearing about my real life experiences having integrated this into modules such as the handover of a casualty to the paramedics.'

Soon after the incident, Tracy was honoured to receive a personal thank you from the gentleman – an excellent start to a new era for the recently modernised St John Ambulance Training organisation in London.

Tracy's quick thinking and willingness to help others exemplifies the strengths of being a trained first aider and just goes to show the dedication and expertise of the trainers at St John Ambulance.