Her Majesty presents honour to Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer

Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 29th October 2019 – 9.10am.

It was a day that he will never forget; on Friday, WMAS Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer Steve Wheaton received his Queens Ambulance Medal (QAM) from the Monarch herself at an Investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Steve, whose career spans almost 30 years, was recognised in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List.

The Resilience and Specialist Operations Director was recognised for his dedication and distinguished service to the ambulance sector which carries the same level of Royal recognition as other members of the emergency services.

Steve said: “It was a very proud day for me and my family who came to the ceremony with me.  Whilst I received the award, I couldn’t have done it without the many staff who I have had the pleasure of working with in the ambulance service across our country.

“It truly was a day to remember, made even more special by the fact it was the Queen herself who presented me with the QAM.  Her Majesty asked about WMAS and also how busy the ambulance service is.

“I would also like to thank the many people around the country who have sent me such lovely messages about the day and receiving the medal; it really is humbling.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Marsh, said: “I have known Steve for 15 years and, in that time, I have watched him progress and flourish within the ambulance service to become a knowledgeable and well-respected individual in his field.

“I am incredibly proud that Steve has been recognised in this way and would like to thank him for his tremendous service and for the thousands of patients he has helped along the way.”

Speaking at the time of the announcement, 45-year-old Steve said, he found his passion with the ambulance service at the tender age of ten when he became a cadet with a local volunteer ambulance service. In 1991, he went on to become a cadet with London Ambulance Service where he spent ten years progressing to become a registered Paramedic. In 2001 Steve obtained a promotion to Duty Officer at the, then Essex Ambulance Service before moving up the ranks to Station Officer, Divisional Commander and the Head of Emergency Planning.

In 2008, Steve made the move to West Midlands Ambulance Service to head up and expand the Trust’s Emergency Preparedness and Specialist Operations team where he remains today. 2013 saw Steve seconded to the role of Deputy Senior Responsible Officer at the Home Office where he was responsible for rolling out the national Joint Emergency Service Interoperability Programme (JESIP) across all emergency services in England.

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Steve Wheaton QAM

Strokes can happen to anyone, not just the elderly

Jamie Arrowsmith – Tuesday 28th October 2019 – 10am.

“Had it been your nan suffering those symptoms, I’d have instantly known she was having a stroke.”

That is what Emergency Operations Centre Call Assessor, Amy Keogh was told by a family member during her recovery from a stroke she suffered in 2016 when aged just 19-years-old.

Now, to mark today’s World Stroke Day, Amy hopes that her story, and those words in particular, will ensure people realise that strokes can happen to anyone, at any age, not just in the elderly.

Amy suffered headaches, sickness, vision loss and lost the use of her right leg, which ultimately led to her falling and ending up in hospital, where she was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke.

“The headache was the worst headache I’ve ever had and I couldn’t understand why I was tapping the wrong number on my phone when trying to enter my passcode.

“I had no idea I had lost use of my right leg until I tried to get to the toilet and I ended up falling.

“There is a common belief amongst people that strokes don’t happen to young people, but I am proof that they do. I had no idea that you could be affected so young by a stroke, you only ever hear of it in elderly people.  That is why I am desperate to get the message out there and make people aware that unfortunately, they can happen to anyone.”

Amy added that if anyone is unsure about their symptoms, they should seek reassurance as soon as possible. “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” she said. “I would urge anyone, old or young, to get some advice, get seen as soon as possible in order to hopefully get the worst-case scenario of it actually being a stroke, ruled out.”

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. This can be caused by a clot in a blood vessel or bleeding in, or around, the brain.

WMAS Consultant Paramedic, Matt Ward, said: “There are treatments that can reduce the disability caused by stroke but these can only be given in the first few hours.

“Amy’s story is an example of how things can be missed, but because of the need to treat rapidly, it is essential to spot the signs of a stroke as quickly as possible. The FAST test is a well-known way of checking symptoms, but there are less obvious symptoms too such as sudden or partial loss of vision, and sudden changes in balance.”

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Notes to Editors:

Amy Keogh is available for interview today (Tuesday). To arrange, please contact the Press Office by calling 01384 246496.

Picture caption: The MRI scan of Amy’s brain during her stroke. The black dot at the bottom (above PIL) indicates the clot that then lead to three bleeds in the brain. Two of which are clear to see as black circles on the left side and the third is a smaller one on the right side (in line with the A in LAS on the side).

In the UK there are around 120,000 stroke cases a year. Over 1.2m people in the UK live with the effects of stroke, making it the biggest single cause of disability. West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) deals with over 20,000 suspected stroke cases a year.

F – facial drooping

A – arm weakness

S – speech disturbance (slurring or inappropriate words and an inability to speak are all common signs)

T – time, if you find any of these signs it’s time to call 999

Pedestrian dies in Leominster

Claire Brown – Friday 25th October 2019 – 10.40am.

A man has sadly died following a road traffic collision in Leominster this morning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service received several 999 calls reporting a collision involving a car and a pedestrian on the B4362 in Shobdon at 6.12am today (Friday). Two ambulances, a paramedic officer and a doctor from Mercia Accident Rescue Service (MARS) attended the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Ambulance staff arrived to find bystanders and police administering CPR to a pedestrian following the collision.

“Ambulance staff took over resuscitation efforts and continued administering advanced life support to the pedestrian, a man, on scene. Sadly, nothing could be done to save the man and he was confirmed dead on scene a short time later.”

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Cyclist dies in Shropshire

Claire Brown – Thursday 24th October 2019 – 1.30pm.

A cyclist has died following a collision with a tractor in Shropshire this morning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to a rural road in Hollyhurst, near Leebotwood in Church Stretton at 10.32am today (Thursday). Two ambulances and a paramedic officer were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Ambulance staff arrived on scene to find a cyclist, a man, who had been involving in a collision with a tractor. Sadly, nothing could be done to save the man and he was confirmed dead on scene.”

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Pedestrian dies in Birmingham HGV Collision

Claire Brown – Thursday 24th October 2019 – 10.45am.

An elderly woman has sadly died following a road traffic collision in Birmingham last night.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to reports of a collision involving a pedestrian and an HGV on Pershore Road in Cotteridge at 6.50pm yesterday (Wednesday). A number of ambulance resources were sent to the scene including paramedic officers, two ambulances, HART paramedics and medics from MERIT, the West Midlands CARE Team and the Midlands Air Ambulance critical care car. They joined colleagues from the police and fire service at the incident.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Upon arrival crews found an elderly woman who had been involving in a collision with an HGV and was in a critical condition. Ambulance staff worked as a team to deliver advanced trauma care to the woman before she was transferred by land ambulance on blue lights to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham for further emergency treatment. Sadly, despite the best efforts, nothing could be done to save the woman and she was confirmed dead a short time later in hospital.”

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Man trapped under van after crash involving mobility scooter

Murray MacGregor – Wednesday 23rd October 2019 – 4.00pm.

The rider of a mobility scooter has been injured after a collision with a panel van which left him trapped under the front of the vehicle.

The incident happened at about 1.00pm on Pedmore Road in Dudley.

An ambulance, a paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance Critical Care Car were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “When crews arrived, they found the man, who was in his 70’s trapped on his side under the front of the van with his mobility scooter.

“Firefighters used lifting cushions to raise the van so that the ambulance staff could bring the man out from under the vehicle.

“The man had suffered serious injuries but they are not believed to be life threatening.  After receiving trauma care at the scene, he was taken to Russells Hall Hospital.

“The van driver was unhurt.”

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front ambulance lights 2018

Pedestrian seriously injured in Coventry

Friday 18th October 2019 – 10.45am – Jamie Arrowsmith.

A woman has been taken to one of the region’s major trauma centres in a serious condition following a collision between a car and a pedestrian this morning.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to the junction of Far Gosford Street and Binley Road at 8.07am and sent one ambulance, a paramedic officer and the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, crews discovered one patient, a woman, who was the pedestrian.

“She received treatment at the scene for multiple serious injuries before being taken to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire by land ambulance.

“The doctor from the air ambulance travelled in the back of the ambulance to help continue treatment enroute to hospital.”

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Five hurt after a car rolls over and hits a tree

Murray MacGregor – Tuesday 15th October 2019 – 3.55pm.

Five people have been hurt after a car crashed, uprooting a tree, leaving the car on its side.

The single vehicle crash happened at just about 12.50pm today (Tuesday) on Astley Lane in Bedworth.

Five ambulances, a paramedic officer and the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire air ambulance were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival ambulance crews found a car on its roof with significant damage and a tree lying across the road.

“There were five people in the car: three women and two men:

A man in his 20s had suffered multiple potentially serious injuries.  He was taken nonblue lights to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.

“A woman in her 30s has also suffered multiple potentially serious injuries.  She was taken on blue lights to the same hospital; the doctor from the air ambulance travelled with the crew.

“A third patient was also taken University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire; the woman in her 40s was again taken on blue lights with multiple potentially serious injuries.

“Two further patients were taken to George Eliot Hospital.  A man in his 40s and a woman in her 30s had both suffered multiple injuries but these were not believed to be serious.”

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Bedworth RTCEnds

They were amazing – they saved my husband’s life. Make sure you learn CPR in case it happens to you.

Tuesday 15th October 2019 – 12.21pm – Murray MacGregor.

“They were amazing.” The words of a wife when she met the two ambulance crews who saved her husband’s life after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Jenny and Mark Roberts from Brierley Hill were staying with friends on a caravan site in Ombersley, Worcestershire last November.

During the afternoon, Mark started to feel unwell but then, without warning turned grey and passed out.  His heart had stopped; he was in cardiac arrest.

In such circumstances every second counts.  Every minute without CPR decreases chances of survival by 10%!  The numbers speak for themselves:

In Norway, when a patient has a cardiac arrest outside hospital, in 73% of cases a member of the public or a family member does CPR – the survival rate is 25%.  Compare that to the UK where cardiac arrest patients only get support in around 50% of cases which leads to just a 7% survival rate.

Jenny says Milind Kumar Karday, the call handler who answered, was brilliant keeping her calm and telling her what to do.  She says you have to be ready because Mark had none of the classic symptoms of a cardiac arrest or heart attack; chest pains:

Two ambulance crews were immediately dispatched while Mark and Jenny’s friends performed vital CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on Mark, buying him time until the crews arrived.

Paramedics John Fryer, Lorraine McHugh, Michelle Adams and Anna Borecka were quickly on the scene, but that was just the start of the fight to save Mark.

Jenny and Mark got to meet the crews who attended to him at a meeting of the WMAS Trust Board at the end of January.

Mark and Jenny say it is difficult to put into words just how much it means to meet the people who saved Mark’s life:

Mark’s life was saved by the speedy recognition that he was in cardiac arrest and having someone there to do CPR until the ambulance staff arrived and took over.

Mark says he hadn’t ever really considered just how important the work of the ambulance service and all of the emergency service is until this happened.

Both he and Jenny now want everyone to take note of the incredible work of ambulance staff and also do their bit to help and learn basic life support.

Cardiac Arrest - Mark and Jenny Roberts

(L-R: Anna Borecka, Michelle Adams, Mark Roberts, Jenny Roberts, Lorraine McHugh and John Fryer)

Could you restart a heart?

Murray MacGregor – Monday 14th October 2019 – 3.50pm.

This week, literally tens of thousands of people, mainly children, will learn how to restart a heart.

Why is that important?  Because, learning CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation could turn you into a lifesaver.

When a someone suffers a cardiac arrest, not to be confused with a heart attack, they are clinically dead; their heart has stopped beating and they will not recover unless someone is prepared to start CPR quickly and a defibrillator is attached to them to reset the heart.

Restart a Heart Day, which takes place on Wednesday, was started by the Resuscitation Council and is supported by the British Heart Foundation.

This week, staff from West Midlands Ambulance Service will join volunteers across the region and the rest of the UK to train tens of thousands of children on how to do CPR. 

The volunteers come from all walks of life; community first responders, local businesses, students and lecturers from some of our universities and other NHS staff.  Together we will try to train as many people as possible in the life saving skill.

A cardiac arrest can happen to absolutely anyone; young or old, fit or not.  That’s why knowing and being prepared to carry out CPR is so important, because the next one could affect a friend or loved one of yours; you just never know.

Here’s an example of how knowing CPR can save a life:

On 11th of November 2017, John Simpson was at home in Sutton Coldfield using an exercise bike, when he started to feel unwell.  Initially he thought it was indigestion.

As the crews were treating John, his wife arrived home and was understandably shocked by what she found:

In a letter to the Trust, Mr Simpson said: “I would like to commend the actions of the two ambulance crews who attended the incident and undoubtedly saved my life. I would also like to commend to you the lady (known to me as Pam) who talked to me and kept me appraised of progress.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the actions of the crews allowed me to survive long enough to receive this life saving treatment.  Their concern, tolerance and professionalism was a constant source of reassurance to both myself and my wife.”

In January 2018, just two months after his cardaic arrest John met the staff who saved his life:

Paramedic Jas Nar, said “We don’t do this job for the thanks, but meeting someone like John really does make it all worthwhile.”

Image2

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Four people treated after incident at wedding

Murray MacGregor – Monday 14th October 2019 – 10.58am.

West Midlands Ambulance Service received no fewer than nine calls to reports of a ‘brawl’ at a wedding at the Park Hall Ramada Hotel in Wolverhampton at 9.30 on Saturday evening.

Given the initial description of the incident and suggestions that there were numerous casualties, we sent three ambulances, a paramedic officer, the Hazardous Area Response Team to assist with triaging patients and the mental health car which has a paramedic, police officer and mental health nurse on board.

Ambulance staff rapidly assessed a large number of potential patients.  In total, there were four casualties that needed further assistance.

A teenage girl who had been working at the event was treated at the scene for a medical condition and injuries sustained in the disturbance.  After assessment by ambulance staff, she was taken to New Cross Hospital.

Two men in their 20s were taken to the same hospital with injuries sustained in the incident.

A man in his 40s, who had also been injured in the incident, was assessed but chose not to go to hospital against advice from the paramedic on scene.

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Ambulance and Officer Car at night

(Library Picture)

Fatal crash in Wolverhampton

Murray MacGregor – Monday 14th October 2019 – 9.15am.

A pedestrian has died after a collision with a 4×4.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called at about 10.25pm on Sunday evening to the junction of Crowther Road and Tettenhall Road in Wolverhampton outside the Toby Carvery.

An ambulance, a paramedic officer and the MERIT Trauma Doctor and critical care paramedic were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance staff found police officers and an off duty non-emergency patient transport service crew performing CPR on a pedestrian.

“Ambulance staff carried out advanced life support at the scene, but sadly, despite all efforts, it wasn’t possible to save the man and he was confirmed dead at the scene.”

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Ambulance at night 1

Testing the multi-agency response to a major incident

Murray MacGregor – Friday 4th October 2019 – 8.16am.

We hope we never have to deal with an incident where we are faced with dozens of seriously injured casualties, but in this day and age, it is vital that we make sure we are prepared to do just that.

On Wednesday, all three emergency services took part in a large scale exercise in Albrighton. As you can see from the pictures, there were badly damaged cars and almost 100 live casualties; all in all a frightening prospect for the first crews on scene.

The exercise was put together by one of our Tactical Incident Commanders, Greig Smith along with Emergency Planning Manager Keith Nevitt and HART Training Manager Ed Middleton. As well as colleagues from West Midlands Police, Shropshire Fire and Rescue and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, it also tested lots of West Midlands Ambulance Service staff.

It brought together 13 ambulance crews from across the Region, the training team from our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) including an aerial drone, a MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic, over a dozen operational commanders and a range of other senior commanders; over 50 staff in total.

Greig said: “It was designed to be an extremely testing exercise with complex tasks and real challenges for the staff involved.  It provided a great training opportunity to experience a large scale multi-agency exercise.

“We were very lucky to be able to have around 90 ‘casualties’ some of whom played the part of being very seriously injured.

“These exercises are designed to test our training and always provide learning, but what was absolutely clear was the extraordinary level of commitment from all of those involved, whichever service they were representing.

“This will undoubtedly help us develop our capabilities even further so that we are as prepared as we can be for the future, whatever that may hold.”

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Serious crash ruptures gas main

Murray MacGregor – Thursday 3rd October 2019 – 11.05am.

Three people have been taken to hospital, one in a serious condition, after a two car crash that also left a gas main ruptured.

The crash happened near the junction of Longford Road and Oakmoor Road in the Longford area of Coventry at about 10.30pm last night, Wednesday.

Two ambulances, three paramedic officers and The Air Ambulance Service Critical Care Car were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance crews found two cars that had suffered significant damage – the two were about 150 yards apart.

“A man in his 20s was trapped in the front passenger seat of the first car.  Ambulance staff worked with firefighters to extricate him after he had received advanced clinical care from the doctor whilst trapped.

“He was taken on blue lights to the major trauma centre at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire with significant injuries.  The doctor travelled with the ambulance crew.

“Ambulance crews did not see anyone else from this car.

“There were two people in the second car.  A woman in her 40s had been helped from the vehicle by bystanders.  She was assessed and treated at the scene before being taken to the same hospital as a precaution along with the driver of the car, a man in his 50s who had suffered minor injuries.

“The gas leak led to police evacuating a small number of residents until the main was shut off by gas engineers.”

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Longford Road 2-10-19

(Picture courtesy of @foleshillfire on Twitter)

Car crashes into restaurant after collision with van

Murray MacGregor – Thursday 3rd October 2019 – 10.45am.

A man has been injured after a collision between a van and a car which left the car embedded in the front of a restaurant.

The incident happened at about 6.15am this morning at the junction of Station Street West and Foleshill Road in Coventry.

An ambulance attended the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The collision left the van with significant front-end damage.

“The driver, a man in his 30s had managed to get out of the vehicle himself.  He was assessed and treated at the scene before being taken to University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire as a precaution.

“There were no patients from the car at the scene when the ambulance arrived.”

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Ambulances in the sun 2

Tree falls on man

Murray MacGregor – Thursday 3rd October 2019 – 10.40am.

A man has died after a tree fell on him.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called at 6.40am this morning (Thursday) to a pathway next to the Cemetery in Eccleshall Road, Tillington near Stafford.

A number of members of the public heard the incident and went to see what had happened and immediately dialled 999.

Three ambulances and a paramedic officer were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “On arrival, ambulance found a man trapped by the branches of a large tree.

“Working together they managed to get the man out from under the tree and provided advanced clinical care.  Sadly, despite best efforts, it was not possible to save the man and he was confirmed dead at the scene.”

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Ambulances 2

Motorcyclist dies in Burton

Claire Brown – Wednesday 2nd October 2019 – 9.30am.

A motorcyclist has died following a road traffic collision in Burton last night.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to reports of a collision involving a motorcyclist and several vehicles on St Peter’s Bridge, Burton-upon-Trent at 4.58pm yesterday (Tuesday). Two ambulances, a paramedic officer, the Midlands Air Ambulance from Tatenhill and a second air ambulance from Cosford with a MERIT trauma doctor on board attended the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Crews arrived on scene to find bystanders administering excellent CPR to the motorcyclist, a man, who was in a critical condition following the collision. The team of ambulance staff worked quickly to take over resuscitation efforts and commence advanced life support at the roadside. Sadly, despite everyone’s best efforts on scene, nothing could be done to save the man and he was confirmed dead a short time later.”

Witnesses or anyone with dashcam footage are asked to call 101 or email ciu@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk quoting incident number 560 of 1st October.

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Fatality in Penkridge

Claire Brown – Tuesday 1st October 2019 – 9.15am.

A pedestrian has died following a road traffic collision in Staffordshire last night.

West Midlands Ambulance Service received a 999 call at 8.09pm last night (Monday) to reports of a collision involving a pedestrian and a vehicle on the A449 Stafford Road in Penkridge. An ambulance, which was en route to hospital, was first on scene after coming across the incident and stopped to render aid until further resources arrived. Two further ambulances, two paramedic officers, a BASICS emergency doctor and a MERIT trauma doctor were sent to the scene.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Ambulance staff found a pedestrian, a man, at the side of the road in a critical condition upon arrival. The team of medics worked quickly to administer advanced life support to the man but sadly despite their best efforts nothing could be done to save him, and he was confirmed dead on scene.”

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