Tammie from Asda Radcliffe puts her first aid training into action to help her son

October 23, 2020

When our Radcliffe store's community champion Tammie Wakefield completed her Asda first aid training course she never thought one of the first people she'd be using her skills on would be her 18-year-old son Ben.

But that's what happened when Ben lost consciousness after suffering a severe supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) – a very fast heart rate.

Tammie said: "I did first aid on Ben – put him in the recovery position and cleared his airways. I was on the phone to the 999 operator and they were monitoring his breathing and then did I vagal manoeuvres to try to slow the heart rate down. At one point he clutched his chest and I think I was seconds away from having to resuscitate him, but luckily at that point paramedics arrived."

The 999 crew stabilised him before taking him to North Manchester Hospital for tests. He was then moved to Wythenshawe Heart Centre where he had an ablation procedure on his heart.

Student Ben was diagnosed with Wolff Parkinson White syndrome with means he had an extra electrical pathway in his heart which led to his SVT attack.

Tammie, who's been at our Radcliffe store for two years, completed an intense emergency first aid course at the nearby Bury store last last year.

She said: "If I hadn't have done my first aid training I would have really panicked on that day with Ben. I wouldn't have been able to cope. I was keeping it together with the adrenalin, but when he got to hospital I just broke down."

"I wanted to do the first aid course as I'm interested in that sort of thing and I do watch a lot of medical programmes. I thought it would be something that would benefit both my family and customers at the store the same time. I just thought it would be a good thing to do.

"The course was intense and was about resuscitation and threat to life, rather than how to put slings on."

Mum-of-five Tammie, who's also had to administer first aid to a couple of customers in store, said: "I do think it's very important that people do learn first aid. I never thought I'd be put into a situation where I would be using what I learnt on my own son however!"

Ben said: "I don’t remember much of that day at all really. All I remember is my heart beating out of my chest and I thought it would explode, and I couldn’t breathe.

"I remember my mum being there at the start of my episode and helping me trying vagal manoeuvres to bring me out of the SVT. After that I have no recollection. I came round in the ambulance disorientated and not knowing what had happened.

"The paramedics had to tell me what happened and what my mum did. All I know is that first-aid training is essential to everyone and if my mum had not had the opportunity to go on the course provided by Asda there could have been a different outcome.

"First-aid training and having available AEDs in the community can be a matter of life and death and I am forever grateful to everyone that played a part in helping me recover before, during, and after my surgery."

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