30th Jun, 2022

Pensioner living example of air ambulance's lifesaving work

Ian Hughes 3rd Jul, 2020

A PENSIONER says he is “a living example of the lifesaving work” done by Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA).

A year ago retired retail manager John Putt was airlifted by WNAA after he collapsed in the grounds of Compton Verney art gallery when they were being used as a location for the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.

The 83-year-old said: “Every time I see the helicopter fly over I am just so grateful that it came to me. I am a living example of the lifesaving work that they do.”

He was on his way back to the car park having had some of his collection of 1930s coffee cups valued and filmed.

John has the lung disease COPD and finds it difficult to walk uphill without getting breathless.

“I suddenly felt as though I was going to pass out so I stepped on to the grass. That’s the last thing I remember until I woke up in hospital.”

Had John been at home alone – which he would have been if he was not at the event – he could have died. He had suffered a cardiac arrhythmia which can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.

Bystanders started CPR on him immediately and a paramedic working for the television company took over his treatment until a land ambulance and the helicopter arrived at the scene.

John had a very low pulse rate when the air ambulance critical care team took over his care and he was given a drug to increase his heart rate. He was also attached to specialist equipment to regulate his heartbeat if necessary.

The air ambulance crew stabilised John and he was flown to University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire where there is a specialist cardiology department.

Due to the popularity of the Antiques Roadshow, there were queues of cars entering the site and heavy traffic in the immediate area so transporting him by air was the quickest way of getting him to the urgent medical care he needed.

Two days after being admitted to hospital John underwent an operation to have a pacemaker fitted and after a few days recovery on the wards, he was allowed home.

John added: “There is no doubt in my mind that going to Compton Verney that day saved my life. Had I been on my own at home I would have died. I am very happy to still be alive.”

John and his wife Madeleine are regular supporters of the local air ambulance charity.

“We have always felt very sad that the country doesn’t finance the helicopters and so we make donations to help keep them flying.”

The Coventry Airport-based air ambulance recently reached its 40,000th mission milestone.

Anyone who has been one of the service’s 40,000 missions, and feel able to their story, is urged get in touch with them. Sharing patient stories helps WNAA raise awareness and vital funds for their lifesaving service.

Visit www.airambulanceservice.org.uk or call 0300 3045 999 for further details.


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