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Commendation for Daughter Who Helped  Save Mum's Life

16 February 2017

A life-saving daughter has been recognised by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust after helping to resuscitate her mother at their workplace.

Ellen Hallas, 50, of Thurnscoe, Barnsley, collapsed while working on a production line at Kostal UK Ltd in Goldthorpe, Rotherham, last December, owing to an existing heart condition; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

She was placed in the recovery position by work colleague Hilary South before her daughter Rachel, 25 - a Team Leader at the firm and qualified Community First Responder with Yorkshire Ambulance Service, also from Thurnscoe - became aware of the situation and quickly realised she needed to start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in an attempt to save her mother’s life.

Rachel then assisted her colleagues Gavin Haynes and Paul Saunders, both trained first aiders, who used the on-site defibrillator to restart Ellen’s heart and continued CPR until she started breathing again, supported over the phone by the ambulance call taker. The ambulance crew arrived shortly afterwards to continue Ellen’s care before taking her to Barnsley Hospital. She remained in hospital for five weeks and was fitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) which, in the event of cardiac arrest, automatically delivers a shock to help restart the heart.

Rachel has been a volunteer Community First Responder for Yorkshire Ambulance Service in her local area for two years, having joined specifically due to her mum’s heart condition so that she knew what to do if her mum was ever in difficulty. She said: “I went into autopilot when I saw mum had collapsed. When I began as a Community First Responder I didn’t know if I would be able to attempt CPR on anyone, never mind a close family member. I’m really glad I had those skills and knew what to do as I don’t think my mum would still be here if I hadn’t.”

Ellen, who hopes to return to work in the next few months, said: “I am in awe of the people who saved my life; I can’t thank them enough. It shows how important it is for workplaces to have defibrillators on their premises because without the kit at Kostal and the efforts of my daughter and colleagues who did CPR, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Emma Scott, Community Defibrillation Officer at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “Rachel and her colleagues thoroughly deserve recognition for saving Ellen’s life through excellent bystander CPR and the use of a defibrillator. Rachel’s swift action, calmness and bravery when faced with the collapse of her own mother are things she should be incredibly proud of. A combination of early CPR and defibrillation can dramatically increase a cardiac arrest patient’s chance of survival, and her mum is testament to this.”

Gary Webley, Facilities Manager at Kostal UK Ltd, who is responsible for health and safety at the firm, said: “All credit should go to Rachel and all our employees who were involved in helping save Ellen’s life.  We take our health and safety responsibilities extremely seriously and ensure that we have appropriately trained first aiders able to use the on-site defibrillator. As a result of this incident Kostal intends to purchase more defibrillators to ensure the continued safety of our workforce.”

Ellen is the third patient to be resuscitated using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) provided by the Rotherham Heart Town initiative: a British Heart Foundation project aimed at improving heart health which has seen 14 of Rotherham’s largest employers, including Kostal UK Ltd, receiving a free AED. The AED initiative was co-funded by the British Heart Foundation and Westfield Health, a not-for-profit health and wellbeing company which has donated 113 AEDs across South Yorkshire over the last 14 years. All the project partners are thrilled that the AED had been used successfully.

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department