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Cycling medic saves Rollesby pensioner from choking

PUBLISHED: 09:58 10 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:55 16 September 2010

AN elderly woman has been saved from choking to death because of a new health scheme to look after people in two Norfolk and Suffolk resorts.

Eleanor Hicks stopped breathing and suffered a full cardiac arrest after she ate a doughnut on a day trip to Great Yarmouth.

AN elderly woman has been saved from choking to death because of a new health scheme to look after people in two Norfolk and Suffolk resorts.

Eleanor Hicks stopped breathing and suffered a full cardiac arrest after she ate a doughnut on a day trip to Great Yarmouth.

The 93-year-old's life was saved after a cycling paramedic rushed to her aid and removed the blockage.

Yesterday Mrs Hicks was reunited with Mark Plummer, from the newly formed Waveney cycle response unit, at the Windmill

Care Home in Rollesby, near Yarmouth, where she lives.

The formation of the pedal- powered Yarmouth and Lowestoft paramedics follows on from similar successful schemes in Norwich and King's Lynn.

And the sight of the pair together was the perfect vindication of the setting up of the summer cycle emergency response unit in Yarmouth and Lowestoft by the East of England Ambulance Service.

Mrs Hicks' life was saved after she ate a doughnut on a day trip to Yarmouth with 17 other care home residents on Wednesday.

Shocked holidaymakers watched on in Regent Road as Mr Plummer removed the large obstruction from her airways within a minute of arriving on the scene on his bicycle, which comes fully equipped for most emergencies.

However Mrs Hicks then went into a full cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated by Mr Plummer and an ambulance crew.

Because of their quick actions she started to breathe again in the ambulance on the way to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

She was discharged the next day.

For the last three weeks Mr Plummer has been part of a team of seven fast-moving paramedics who have whizzed their way around Yarmouth and Lowestoft attending nearly 200 incidents.

After being alerted by a holiday maker that Eleanor was in trouble he easily waved through the large crowds on his bike.

He said: “I could see she was a fairly old lady who had stopped breathing.

“It was quite obvious there was lot of doughnut to remove.”

Mr Plummer, from Martham, added that Eleanor had been a very lucky lady.

He said: “In my years as a paramedic I have never come across someone who had a full cardiac arrest after choking and survived.”

In another sign of how successful the summer cycling paramedic scheme has been in forging closer links with resort, Mr Plummer then went on to find a lost child on the seafront hours after saving Eleanor.

Carol King, in charge of care at Windmill Care Home , had been with Eleanor when she started to choke on the doughnut and had tried her best to clear it before Mr Plummer arrived.

She said: “It was very terrifying. Her face had puffed up and she went blue.

“Mark was very, very good. Everyone here is extremely grateful for what he did.”

The Waveney cycle response unit is made up of seven paramedics based in Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Since being formed three week ago the team have been called out 195 times to emergencies, including road traffic accidents, house fire, falls and chest pains.

Because the cycles can easily weave their way through crowded roads their average response time is two minutes.

The cyclists have notched up about 1,4000 miles responding to incidents in the two resorts.

Mr Plummer has attended 80 incidents, including four heart attacks.

Tim Hickey, unit leader said: “Obviously without the rapid response of the bike and the intervention of our skilled staff the outcome could have been tragically different.

“As a result Eleanor has been able to return home just 24 hours after her ordeal.”

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