A mother of two from Boston has recounted the drama of saving her young son’s life by performing CPR when he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Rachel Fowlston was at home with her husband and two children, Lewis, three, and Charlotte, five, when Lewis suddenly fell ill.
“In the early hours of June 5, the final day of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, we were all at home when Lewis suddenly collapsed,” she said.
“I knew from my Emergency Life Saving training at work how to help Lewis in the first instance.
“We rang 999 and I received the voice prompts on how to do CPR down the phone, it was really weird hearing someone else telling me what to do when I had just completed a refresher course in basic life support at work, where I work as a community nursery nurse.
“Paramedics were on scene within five minutes.”
Prompt shocks from an automated external defibrillator (AED) and CPR from his mum helped to restart Lewis’s heart.
It was only later at the hospital that Rachel realised her son had experienced a cardiac arrest.
Following the incident, Lewis left hospital with an AED glued to his mother’s side at all times in the event that he once again entered sudden cardiac arrest.
“The device was really small and fully portable,” said Rachel, who has spoken out about the importance of learning basic life-saving skills as part of a special week of awareness by the Heart Rhythm charity.
“Friends, family and staff at Lewis’ pre-school were daunted by the device but when we showed them it and told them how it didn’t deliver a shock unless it was necessary they realised how simple it was to use, especially with the voice commands.”
No longer in need of his trusted AED, Lewis was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) in March 2013 as a primary prevention device against sudden cardiac arrest. The device is capable of delivering a shock to the heart to kick it back into action if it detects an irregular heart rhythm.
Lewis was diagnosed with Long QT syndrome, a rare heart rhythm disorder that means he is genetically predisposed to suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. He now takes beta-blockers to control his heart rhythm disorder.
Following the implant of his ICD Lewis and his parents now has checks and treatment at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.