Musician Eddy, 73, thanks firefighters who shocked him back to life

A popular musician has thanked the firefighters who saved his life as part of their roles as co-responders for the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Eddy and Jenny visit Llanfyllin fire service to thank firefighters
Eddy and Jenny visit Llanfyllin fire service to thank firefighters

When 73-year-old Eddy Gartry had a cardiac arrest, pianist Lydia, who was with him practicing for a gig that night, rang 999 before starting CPR.

The call alert Llanfyllin's retained firefighters who responded immediately.

But their fire appliance couldn't get down Eddy's street because of parked cars and the firefighters had grab the defibrillator and run down the road.

Kevin Williams from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, officer in charge that afternoon, said: “There was a neighbour outside waving us down and when we got inside there was a lady on the phone to ambulance control performing CPR.

“The lads commenced chest compressions whilst a couple of others set up the defibrillator.

“They put the defibrillator on him and it said to shock him, which they did and the machine instructed us to carry on with the chest compressions. He was coming around when the ambulance crews turned up and took over.

“Often in these situations it’s not great news, but as stressful as it was, the lads on a high when we got back to the station, to know we had helped save a life."

Eddy was taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital where he underwent surgery to fit an internal defibrillator to his heart.

The musician, who has played with Eric Clapton and Muddy Waters, lives with his partner Jenny.

He said: "My band had a gig that night so the piano player, Lydia, was at my house and we were sat in the lounge writing down what songs to play that evening.

“I remember saying to Lydia that I felt a bit odd, a bit light headed, then I fell face down on the couch, no warning, no chest pain, just like sudden death syndrome.

“The first responder fire team turned up quickly with the defibrillator and shocked me. Without them I think I would have been dead. My life was saved undoubtedly by Lydia and the first responders.

“The ambulance crews were great too and they got me to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital for surgery to fit a defibrillator in my chest, so if it ever happens again it can shock me back to life."

Eddy added: “You think you’re immortal don’t you, and I’d taken up smoking again during lockdown and never drank to excess but was often having a glass of wine – but all those lousy habits are gone now, it doesn’t bother me at all.”

Judith Bryce, assistant director of operations for Welsh Ambulance said: “This is a great example of how working with fire and rescue colleagues in rural communities can help save lives. We are glad that a number of teams across the country are now responding with us for patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest or who may need some assistance following a fall.

“Along with our network of dedicated Community First Responders it really helps to increase resilience in communities across Wales and improve outcomes for patients."

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