A retired mill boss this week hailed the “brilliant response” of Hawick’s firefighters after he suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest.
Rob Wight fell seriously ill at his home in Braid Road on January 13. Fortunately one of his sons, Garry, was in town on holiday, and he dialled 999 before starting CPR on the stricken 71-year-old.
Within five minutes, the emergency services, in the shape of local firefighters – who had been trained to respond to medical emergencies as part of a pilot scheme aimed at supporting the ambulance service – arrived at the scene and used their defibrillator three times to restart Rob’s heart, which had stopped. He was then rushed to Borders General Hospital where he was put on a life support machine before being moved to the intensive care unit.
Rob said: “If it wasn’t for the brilliant response of the firefighters, I wouldn’t be here today. I just hope that the people in Hawick appreciate the excellent work carried out by these men and women. My family and I can’t thank them enough.”
After five days at the BGH, Rob, who retired as managing director with knitwear firm Peter Scott in 2000, was transferred to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a device similar to a pacemaker which can also give the heart an electric shock if it stops.
He continued: “If anyone finds themselves in a similar emergency situation, and a fire engine arrives at their door, they can rest assured that they are in capable and highly-trained hands.”
Hawick station manager Russell Bell said: “We are absolutely delighted that Rob is in good health, and we would like to thank Garry for his initial actions which gave his father a fighting chance until we arrived, closely followed by paramedic support.
“This out-of-hospital cardiac arrest response service is being provided on a trial basis, but we have no doubt that the dedication and professionalism of our staff will see it implemented in all the fire stations in Scotland.
“The Scottish Ambulance Service provide a fantastic service and if we can provide that early care until they arrive, I am sure we will have many other success stories like this one.”