Talented Scottish Country Dancer Amy Nichole Banner saved the life of a friend just days after updating her first aid training. Without the treatment that she gave her friends life would have been lost. The following interview will hopefully shed more light on what happened.
TA: Tell us a little bit about the night you were attending with friends shortly after the course had finished?
ANB: I was on a Scottish country dance week in St Andrews known as summer school. Scottish country dancing is a very active sport. Participants range from the very young at five years old to amazing dancers who are well into their 90′s. In London we joke that we dance till we drop.
ANB: On the second evening a good friend and respected dancer called Richard fell over backwards partway into a dance. Those nearest to him knew something was not right as they noticed the colour drain from his face. The most frightening thing was that he had fallen backwards and had hit his head very hard on the dance floor.
TA: What was your initial thought when Richard collapsed?
ANB: For me it was my instinct to stay and help. Not because I was a first aider, but simply because he was my friend and I cared greatly. I knew that my calm nature could help ease the tension. We were fortunate to have experienced nurses in the room who established that Richard was not breathing. However I was concerned that their first aid training was not up to date, as they did not realize that the CPR compression to breaths ratio had changed. There was another young musician in the room who had recently updated his first aid training. I thought it was strange that we were the two youngest, and yet it seemed we were the most knowledgeable first aiders.
TA: Can you describe the period between the gentleman collapsing and you starting CPR?
ANB: We came up with a plan after what seemed like too long a discussion around Richard. It was important that we gathered enough first aiders to take turns in the CPR cycle. I knew that we were in a secluded location, and that the ambulance would take some time to arrive. I took the role of organising everyone. We decided that one person should focus on the compressions another on the rescue breaths, and I would keep count.
TA: So what happened once the plan was put into action?
ANB: The nurses gave the first round of compressions and I took the role of calmly keeping count. I used a fan to help keep everyone cool. I do not know how long we were on the floor with Richard, but we knew it was a long time. Each first aider was honest, and worked within their limits. We worked like a well-oiled machine swapping over when each other got tired.
TA: Incredible Scenes! What happened once the Paramedics arrived?
ANB: The paramedics arrived after what seemed like ages. They put a breathing tube in and I recounted the incident to them. One paramedic then took over the rescue breaths, and I kept the compressions going. The other paramedic prepared a Defibrillator, which would hopefully re-start Richard’s heart. We all stood away while they shocked his heart a couple of times. I continued the compressions until the paramedics were confident his heart was beating on its own.
Once Richard was stabilized he was loaded into the ambulance. It was a very long and bumpy 20 minute ride to Dundee. Once we got to the hospital I went to the waiting room, and after some time a doctor came out to speak to me. He told me that there was a new technique to help cool the brain down, which would help avert brain damage. This gave us all hope, but we would have to wait until he awoke.
Richard did wake up within 24 hours and was much better than predicted. He did have a bump on his head, but no apparent brain damage. He remembered the first day of summer school, but nothing more.
By the end of the week our worries were over, as we were told he would make a full recovery. From now on he would be fitted with a pacemaker, but this would in no way stop him from dancing. We were all convinced that dancing had given him a strong heart and lungs, and that is what saved his life.
TA: Has the whole experience changed your thoughts on first aid in any way?
ANB: I now actively let others know how important First Aid training is. I did my training because of a work requirement, but ended up needing it when participating in my favourite pastime dancing. My experience proves that First aid saves lives. Do not hesitate if there is someone in need as you really can help.
Geoff Goond is a leading first aid instructor, and mountain rescue worker. Would you have the confidence to give CPR? If not then visit the hse first aid blog @ http://www.train-aid.co.uk for free life saving tips.