Award for Dearne first responder who helped save her mum’s life

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A community first responder is to receive an award after using her medical knowledge to re-start her own mum’s heart when she collapsed at work.

Ellen Hallas, 50, of Thurnscoe, slumped while working on a production line at Kostal UK Ltd in Goldthorpe, Rotherham, last December.

She was placed in the recovery position by work colleague Hilary South before daughter Rachel stepped in to start cardio-pulmonary resuscitation in an attempt to save her mother’s life.

Rachel, a team leader at Kostal, then helped colleagues Gavin Haynes and Paul Saunders, both trained first aiders, to use the on-site defibrillator to restart Ellen’s heart and continued CPR until she started breathing.

An ambulance crew continued Ellen’s care before taking her to Barnsley Hospital where she remained in hospital for five weeks.

She was fitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator which, in the event of cardiac arrest, automatically delivers a shock to help restart the heart.

Rachel, 25, has been a volunteer Community First Responder for Yorkshire Ambulance Service for two years, but prior to this occasion had only used a defibrillator on one patient.

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.”

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 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.”

Gary Webley, Facilities Manager at Kostal UK Ltd, responsible for health and safety at the firm, said: “All credit should go to Rachel and our employees who were involved in helping save Ellen’s life.

“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 provided by Rotherham Heart Town initiative: the British Heart Foundation project aimed at improving heart health has seen 14 of Rotherham’s largest employers receive free AEDs.