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.

4-Year-Old Girl Praised for 999 Call

Four-year-old Kaitlyn Wright has been commended for knowing exactly what to do in an emergency.

Her mum, Charlene, was having a fit, and she was the only person at home with her.

So Kaitlyn called 999 and gave the important details to South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) Call Handler Jess Hodkinson.

During the call on 27 October, Kaitlyn was able to tell Jess precisely what was wrong with Charlene. Kaitlyn made sure that her mum was still breathing, and she stayed on the phone to Jess until help arrived.

Kaitlyn, Charlene, and dad Simon made a special visit to the SWASFT Control Centre near Bristol on Friday 30 November
Kaitlyn, Charlene, and dad Simon made a special visit to the SWASFT Control Centre near Bristol on Friday 30 November.

Kaitlyn was presented with a certificate on behalf of SWASFT Chief Executive Ken Wenman to congratulate her for showing extraordinary bravery, presence of mind, and wisdom beyond her years.

Kaitlyn said: “I pressed 999, and said my mummy was having a fit.”

Paramedics went to the family home in Askerswell, Dorset and assessed Charlene.

Thankfully Charlene stopped fitting, and she didn’t need to go to hospital.

Jess, who works in the Control Centre as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher, said the incident highlighted how vital it is for parents to teach their children what to do in an emergency.

That includes showing the children how to call 999, making sure they know their address, and ensuring they are aware of any known health problems in the family.

Jess said: “Every call is different, and we are taught how to deal with child callers as part of our training. But it is unusual to receive a call from someone so young.

“Kaitlyn was very brave and informative. She obviously knew how to call 999; she told me exactly what was happening, and where she lives.

“She knew exactly what to do in an emergency.”

Charlene has fibromyalgia which means she is in constant pain and can have up to 40 seizures a week.

Charlene said: “I’m so proud of Kaitlyn. At the time I wasn’t really aware of what had happened. I woke up with the paramedics standing over me. I was so happy when I found out what she had done.

“We taught all our children how to make a 999 call, and what to say to the call handler. We got Kaitlyn a pretend Disney phone and practised with it.

“It can be scary when you’re not well. But Kaitlyn makes me feel safe. She’s a star.”

Simon added: “Kaitlyn is a grown-up little girl who knows exactly what to do in an emergency. She is brilliant.”

Charlene said the family had been “overwhelmed” by people’s interest in Kaitlyn’s call. She said they had been given cards, gifts, and kind words from many people.