A woman from Mansfield who had to be put into a coma for 19 days when she developed severe pneumonia has been reunited with the ambulance crew who saved her life.
Cathy Cook, 50, was at home in Mansfield one evening in January when she began struggling to breathe and her husband Wayne called 999 for an ambulance.
Cathy had already been diagnosed with a chest infection, but this had developed into pneumonia and quickly became immediately life-threatening.
This week Cathy was reunited with Paramedic Rebecca Ireland; Emergency Care Assistant Gillian Caldwell, who made sure she could breathe on the way to Kings Mill Hospital; and 999 call handler Kyle Thacker, who kept Wayne calm on the phone.
Cathy, who volunteers for mental health charity Mind, said: “If it wasn’t for the two ladies who came to rescue me, then I wouldn’t be here today.
“It was so lovely to meet them again and say a proper thank you in person.”
Cathy’s husband Wayne, 44, explained that he had come home from his job as a security guard at 8pm on 25 January to find Cathy sat on the sofa and struggling to breathe.
He said: “It was quite scary. Cathy was shivering and sweating but she kept saying she didn’t want to call 999 because she didn’t want to bother anyone.
EMAS 999 call handler Kyle Thacker kept Wayne and Cathy calm on the phone, and our ambulance crew arrived at the scene within just seven minutes to assist her.
Kyle, 24, said: “It seemed like a normal phone call to begin with but as it went on I could hear the panic in Wayne’s voice and I knew it was bad so I decided to stay on the phone until we arrived.”
The ambulance crew arrived in just seven minutes and immediately checked her oxygen levels, blood pressure and heart rate.
Rebecca and Gillian took the decision to take Cathy to hospital as she was so unwell, and gave her oxygen, and a nebuliser which opened her airways and helped her to breathe on the way to Kings Mill Hospital.
Gillian said: “She was short of breath when we arrived and her breathing was getting worse.”
Due to the severity of the pneumonia, doctors at the hospital put Cathy into an induced coma for 19 days to help her body recover from the illness.
Wayne said: “I was told to prepare for the worst. We thought we were going to lose her.
“I was sat there every day hoping that she was going to wake up.”
When Cathy woke up, she was mostly concerned about whether she had missed the Shakin’ Stevens gig at Buxton Opera House – which wasn’t for another eight weeks.
Cathy said: “The last thing I remember is being taken into the operating theatre to have pipes put into my throat to help me breathe, and then I woke up 19 days later in the intensive care unit.”