Man who had two cardiac arrests in 10 days joins EAAA's 24/7 campaign
PUBLISHED: 16:24 15 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:24 15 November 2019
His life was saved by the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) after he suffered a cardiac arrest - twice.
And now Paul Shattock has joined a fundraising campaign to make the service's Norwich rescue helicopter operational 24/7.
Mr Shattock, 55, of East Rudham, near Fakenham, had his first cardiac arrest two years ago, followed by a similar one 10 days later. The air ambulance came to his aid both times. But if the first incident had happened any earlier in the day, Mr Shattock thinks he wouldn't be here today.
He said: "I had my first cardiac arrest just before 7am. Jill, my wife, started performing CPR and then the ambulance turned up. Then they got the air ambulance dispatched.
"If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here. It's that simple."
Mrs Shattock, 52, added: "The thing that made all the difference was the helicopter arriving with the doctor on board. Paul had a type of heart attack called a 'widow maker' and the only effective response was when 'clot busting' thrombolytic drugs were administered. That has to be done by a doctor."
The Norwich air ambulance currently operates from 7am to 7pm and the Cambridge helicopter flies until 1.30am, so there is a five-and-a-half hour gap each day when the region has no air coverage - although rapid response road vehicles still operate.
The EAAA has been given £5m in legacy donations to fund a rebuild of its base at Norwich Airport, with extra facilities to accommodate 24/7 flying. But the service, which gets no direct government funding, has to raise an extra £1m per year on top of the £12m already needed annually to keep the service running.
EAAA executive team member Sarah Atkins said flying 24/7 would allow them to attend around 600 extra incidents a year.
Mrs Atkins said: "It will enable us to bring all our staff under one roof, with crew rest areas and facilities for them to train."
She said work would start in January and take about a year.
After his brush with death, Mr Shattock retired from his job as a building surveyor at Greater Anglia, but has otherwise made a full recovery.
Mr and Mrs Shattock said they also wanted to highlight the importance of CPR, and called for this life-saving skill to be taught in schools and workplaces.
Visit www.eaaa.org.uk to find out more or to donate.