Surrey

Bravery award after North Downs snow rescue bid

Giselle Hampton
Image caption Giselle Hampton helped a man on the North Downs in heavy snow

A St John Ambulance worker is being recognised for her "outstanding efforts" in trying to rescue a forester during last winter's heavy snow.

First responder Giselle Hampton, from Surrey, will be honoured at a St John Ambulance event.

Ms Hampton waded through waist-high snow to help a man suffering a cardiac arrest on the North Downs in January.

St John Ambulance said she risked her own safety to give the man the best possible chance of survival.

The man did not survive but Ms Hampton's actions are being recognised as "extraordinary professionalism".

Community first responder volunteers are trained to attend emergency calls received by the ambulance service and provide care until the ambulance arrives.

Ms Hampton found the forester deep in snowy woodland covered with up to 18 inches (45cm) of snow at temperatures of -10C on the North Downs above Horsley.

She had received a call from the ambulance service about a man who had collapsed in a car park, but she arrived to find no-one there.

She said: "It was January and the snow was waist-high. It was very difficult to get up there for a start.

"The car was sliding around all over the place, but I managed to get up there, and when I got up there I found that the patient was in fact three quarters of a mile away, in the middle of a forest."

'On the cold side'

She said she got into a ranger's 4x4 vehicle with her medical kit and reached the patient, a man in his 50s, who had not only collapsed but was in cardiac arrest.

His forestry colleagues were carrying out CPR, and Ms Hampton used a defibrillator, but the man later died.

Image caption St John Ambulance Service said Ms Hampton risked her safety to try to save the man

Adding that she was not aware of taking any personal risk, she said: "I was a little on the cold side, I have to admit, but I didn't even think about that, I just thought about the patient."

Ms Hampton will be presented with a St John Ambulance Meritorious Certificate and Bar for Brave and Commendable Action in a ceremony at Loseley Park near Guildford on Saturday.

The spokeswoman for the ambulance service said responders were often first at the scene.

She said: "The speed of response and immediacy of treatment is what make this life-saving service so special."

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