Student is a lifesaver

THE quick actions of a Barnstaple student have been praised by a local doctor after she went to the aid of an elderly man who collapsed in the street. Natalie Elston was walking home from North Devon College when she saw the man crash on to the pavement a

THE quick actions of a Barnstaple student have been praised by a local doctor after she went to the aid of an elderly man who collapsed in the street.Natalie Elston was walking home from North Devon College when she saw the man crash on to the pavement at the traffic lights near Halfords.Her first aid training, part of her Fitness Development in Sports course, took over and she sprinted across the road to tend the casualty, who was unconscious, bleeding badly and in danger of choking. It later emerged he had suffered a suspected stroke.It was all witnessed by Dr Dagan Lonsdale, a Senior House Officer at North Devon District Hospital, who was walking towards the station and saw the drama unfold."The young lady was quick to assess and move him into the recovery position," he said in a letter of praise he wrote to the college."Her actions were so adept and speedy that by the time I got to them I was left with nothing to do except wait for an ambulance to arrive!"Her quick actions and competent first aid was invaluable as the gentleman was unconscious and bleeding quite heavily from a mouth wound. If left on his back he could easily have obstructed his airway."Natalie, who is almost 19 and in the third year of her course, said it all happened very quickly:"I did not stop to think, I just ran right across and took over," she said."I didn't want to move the man's neck in case I caused damage, so I just put him in the recovery position and opened his airway. There was a lot of blood and he had suffered a massive black eye."The ambulance arrived quite quickly and after that I went into shock myself for a while. The doctor spoke to me to calm me down, said how well I had done and there was nothing else he could have done at that point because I was doing it."It is understood the patient is now recovering at home following the incident which occurred last month.Natalie is planning to go to university and hopes to make a career as a paramedic or nurse. She also attends a Tuesday night first aid class at the Barnstaple St John Ambulance Headquarters.


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