Police Inspector Thanks 999 Call Handler

A Metropolitan Police Inspector has thanked a South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) 999 call handler for saving him when he became seriously ill, alone on an isolated footpath.

Inspector Dave George collapsed in hot weather on the South West Coast Path between Penzance and Land’s End in Cornwall during a solo training exercise for a charity walk.

The 43-year-old experienced “crushing” chest pains and was struggling to breathe after walking for several hours in the heat.

Inspector George, who was off-duty at the time of the incident in August, feared the worst, but managed to call 999 to get help.

SWASFT Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Olivia Molyneux, assessed his condition and stayed on the phone to him while crews travelled to the remote location.

Inspector George made a special visit to the SWASFT North Clinical Hub near Bristol to thank Olivia in person.
Inspector George made a special visit to the SWASFT North Clinical Hub near Bristol to thank Olivia in person.

“I thought that was it,” he said. “I was on my own, and needed help. It was a desperate situation. The response from everyone was amazing.”

“I wanted to thank Olivia personally, because call handlers don’t tend to get the recognition they deserve.”

Inspector George also sent a letter of thanks to SWASFT Chief Executive, Ken Wenman. He said: “The call handler was totally exceptional. She dealt with a very difficult and challenging call in the most superb way.

“The kindness and calm professionalism that she showed deserves special praise. I don’t think I could have got through that hour alone without her staying on the line and talking to me.”

Inspector George was later diagnosed with serious heat stroke. He has since made a full recovery.

The following symptoms are associated with heat stroke: not sweating when excessively hot; rapid or shortness of breath; loss of consciousness, unresponsive.

If you suspect someone has heat stroke, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.