Former High Court judge praises lifesaving ambulance staff

Sir Hugh Bennett and some of the staff who saved his life. Picture: SECAmbs
Sir Hugh Bennett and some of the staff who saved his life. Picture: SECAmbs

Former High Court judge Sir Hugh Bennett was fortunate that, when he went into cardiac arrest, his former- policeman friend Cliff Robinson was with him.

Cliff had been a first aid trainer with Surrey Police and put his training to good use, calling 999 and starting CPR in the car on Friday, November 27, 2015.

After all those years teaching first aid this was the first time I had to do it for real.

Cliff Robinson

Sir Hugh, 72, was taken St George’s Hospital in London and is now back to working part-time.

He was one of eight patients who were reunited with the teams from South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) who saved their lives. The survivors saw their lifesavers for the first time since they were treated at SECAmb’s sixth annual ‘Our Survivors’ event on Sunday, September 25 at Ashdown Park Hotel, near East Grinstead.

Their stories were told in a special brochure produced by SECAmb.

Sir Hugh, who lives in Ardingly, and his friend were returning to Sussex from Hereford and were approaching Junction eight on the M25 when Cliff realised Hugh had not responded to a question, according to SECAmb.

A quick glance was enough to convince Cliff things were not right so he pulled over and stopped.

“I ran round to him and realised his breathing was agonal,” Cliff said in a statement included in the report.

“After all those years teaching first aid this was the first time I had to do it for real.”

“The call taker in the control room was absolutely brilliant talking me through it but in almost no time an ambulance was with us.”

Paramedic Edd Bartlett, technician Tracey Carpenter and paramedic Lawrence Hayes arrived swiftly, according to the ambulance service.

They transferred him into the ambulance to continue giving CPR. They were quickly supported by clinical team leader Paul O’Hara and critical care paramedic Scott Hardy.

Scott called for assistance from the air ambulance doctor who arrived by car to put Sir Hugh into an induced coma for the ambulance trip to St George’s Hospital in London, a spokesperson for the ambulance service reported.

“I don’t remember any of this. The next thing I remember was waking up in hospital,” said the former judge.

“I know I was very lucky in many ways. It is an odd feeling knowing I was clinically dead for a while but I am really grateful for the expertise of everyone who came to my assistance.”

“Life is good and my wife Liz and I are looking forward to moving home to be nearer our children.”

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