Heart attack survivor praises air ambulance

Derek Carruthers, his wife Bridget Carruthers and Terry Sharpe Credit: GNAAS

A heart attack survivor has shared his story, thanking emergency services, after he was flown to the hospital.

64-year-old Derrek Carruthers, from Kirkoswald, was playing golf in Penrith when he had the heart attack in May 2013.

I had played five holes of golf when I started to feel a pain in my chest. I played two more holes and it got worse so I went for a sit down.

Derek Carruthers

The retired sales executive, who was then taking part in Penrith Golf CLub's Inglewood Cup, describes the pain as “someone sticking a corkscrew in your chest and turning it tighter.”

The grandfather of one was flown to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for surgery.

After initial treatment by the GNAAS team, I was taken to hospital where surgeon, Mr Swanson, and his team removed a clot from an artery on the surface of my heart and installed two stents. Less than an hour later, I was fine and recovering. The turnaround was remarkable.

Derek Carruthers

David Carruthers and his 66-year-old wife, Bridget, visited Great North Air Ambulance's Langwathby airbase to thanks the air crew, including paramedic Terry Sharpe, who assisted him.

Derek Carruthers and Terry Sharpe Credit: GNAAS

Derek’s incident is a textbook case of everyone working together to give a patient the best possible chance of recovery. Without bystanders, the rapid response paramedic and air ambulance all working swiftly, the outcome may have been different.

Terry Sharpe, Paramedic

Mr Carruthers has remained active, plays golf, skies and attends the gym twice a week.He also works as a support driver on charity rides from London to Paris with Maximum Adventure and Rather Be Cycling.

I haven’t smoked, don’t drink a lot and I like to keep fit but it can still happen. I now wear a heart monitor and I’ve been advised not to let my heart exert 100 beats per minute.

Derek Carruthers

The Great North Air Ambulance Service is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary of becoming an independent registered charity.