Tourist reunited with life-saving airport team

An Italian tourist who collapsed unconscious and stopped breathing at London Stansted Airport has been reunited with the airport staff and ambulance crew who saved his life.

Antonio Perrelli went into cardiac arrest whilst using the airport’s Track Transit System on August 20, but has made a remarkable recovery, and met his lifesavers from the airport’s Customer Experience Team and the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) on September 23.

The airport’s Customer Experience Manager, Rebecca Dow, and Ambassadors, Georgina Hays and Amy Cowler, who rushed to his aid had been taught their life-saving skills by the EEAST’s Commercial Training Team just two years ago.

Our ambassadors receive excellent First Aid Response training by EEAST but they rarely face a situation like this during a shift.  I was incredibly proud of my team, they acted brilliantly and showed determination and professionalism to ensure the patient survived.
Rebecca Dow, Customer Experience Manager

Paramedics Kendal Lavery and Debbie Mc’sDonald, both based at the airport under a new contract this year to provide rapid 999 cover, were dispatched to the patient at just before 8pm.

When we arrived, the train had been evacuated and screens were arriving and the airport’s Customer Service Ambassadors were there with a defib and doing chest compressions on Antonio who was laying across a bench/seat. The airport team had been first on scene and were carrying out CPR and reassuring Antonio’s daughter who was travelling with him.

After we got him to the floor, the airport ambassadors continued CPR while we attached our defibrillator pads. I updated ambulance control that we had a confirmed cardiac arrest and required assistance.
Debbie Mc’sDonald, Paramedic

Debbie and Kendal worked on Antonio to give him advanced life-saving treatment, and also got the help of a nearby police officer to assist. In the dramatic moments following, the patient was ‘shocked’ three times and by 8.07pm, they had achieved an output, meaning he had a pulse again. 

The patient was responsive to his name and we were continuously reassuring him he was ok. The air ambulance landed, and another crew and duty officer also arrived. The critical care team on the helicopter sedated the patient, and I left to bring the ambulance airside. The patient was still very unwell of course, so in light of this he was flown to hospital.
Debbie Mc’sDonald, Paramedic

Antonio met the teams at the airport just before boarding his flight back to Italy with daughter Daniela, who had been with him when he went into arrest.

[The meet up] was one of the proudest and emotional days of my life. We fought for his life giving every ounce of energy and emotion we had. To see him breathing, walking, smiling, happy, talking and his heart not only beating but filled with gratitude was the best feeling in the world.
Debbie Mc’sDonald, Paramedic
I am extremely proud of all members of the airport team and paramedics involved in helping save the life of Mr Perrelli. It was thanks to their swift response and prompt actions to what was a shocking and very distressing situation that Mr Perrelli was able to return to the airport and express his gratitude. Our front line customer service staff help thousands of our passengers everyday as they pass through the airport, providing information, support and assistance. But on the rare occasions when they are faced with a real life or death situation, the expert training they receive from the EEAST to provide the best possible response is the most valuable service they can provide.

The partnership we have built with EEAST and the availability of highly-trained, on-site paramedics is a fantastic example of the collaborative approach we adopt across the airport to deliver great service and do our very best for every passenger at all times.
Rachael Melody, London Stansted’s Head of Customer Services

Other airport passengers who helped with first aid and translation at the scene are being thanked by the airport for their assistance.