Heart attack worker thanks lifesavers

A PORTWORKER today said thank you to paramedics who saved his life when he suffered a massive heart attack.

A PORTWORKER today said thank you to paramedics who saved his life when he suffered a massive heart attack.

The firefighter-ambulance technicians based at the port found Mick Munnerley collapsed in a messroom and had to use a special clot-busting drug to stop him dying.

The drug brought about a remarkable recovery and by the time the ambulance reached Ipswich Hospital he had come round and was feeling much better.

Mr Munnerley, who works as a berth operative at the Port of Felixstowe, said: “These guys saved my life.

“They do an amazing job, and really do deserve praise to the highest order.

“I have a lump in my throat just thinking about what they have done for me, and I am very grateful indeed.”

Most Read

Mr Munnerley and his wife Linda this week visited the port fire and ambulance station to thank the team and present them with a specially-baked heart-shaped cake.

The drama started around noon on July 7 when leading technicians Colin Fulcher and Peter Simpson were called to Mr Munnerley in the hold of a vessel.

His colleagues raised the alarm because they were concerned he was looking off-colour and he had been complaining of feeling weak.

He was given a full check in the ambulance, including a test on a 12-lead electrocardiograph (ECG). Tests showed nothing untoward and he went off to the messroom for a cup of tea and a rest.

Forty minutes later, Mr Simpson and colleague Fraser Farthing were called to the messroom and the pair were shocked at what they saw.

Mr Simpson said: “He was a completely different man to the one we had assessed 40 minutes earlier.

“He was now cold, clammy and sweating, and was slipping in and out of consciousness.”

Mr Munnerley was immediately reassessed, placed on oxygen and given strong pain relief. Another ECG test was taken and revealedhe was suffering a massive heart attack, caused by a blood clot blocking one of his main coronary blood vessels.

The scan was sent via telemetry to Ipswich Hospital cardiac ward and the port emergency workers were given the go-ahead to use the clot-busting drug Tenecteplase.

Mr Simpson is one of only four paramedics from the port fire and ambulance station qualified to administer the drug - and it was the first time it had been used at the port.

Mr Munnerley, who lives in Leiston, spent four days in hospital undergoing tests but doctors said he no longer had a clot and there was no damage to the heart muscles.

n Have paramedics saved your life? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Felixstowe port's fire and rescue service was set up in 1958 and operated initially from premises at the Dock Basin.

It is very rare for ports to have their own fire and ambulance crews - very few private fire brigades still exist today.

The team operates 24 hours a day every day of the year. Each year they deal with around 900 calls - including more than 300 outside the port, working in Felixstowe and the surrounding area when the NHS ambulances are already dealing with emergencies.

They deal with all kinds of medical incidents - paramedics Peter Simpson and Jason Gouldby even delivered a baby when called to young mother-to-be Laura Flatman who was in the throes of labour, and there was no time to take her to Ipswich Hospital.

There are 16 full-time men on the team - four of them state registered paramedics (among the very few outside the NHS) and 12 trained as technicians. They double up as firefighters and work four four-man shifts, plus the station manager and the ability to call on two retained men.

The department has two fire engines, two ambulances and two cars - all equipped to the latest standards with all the necessary equipment to tackle a range of incidents.

Equipment includes defibrillators in the ambulances for use in dealing with heart attack victims, an ECG machine, cutting gear for accidents, and chemical protection suits.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter