UCB students know how to act FAST to save lives

May 2015

Four students helped to save a man by calling an ambulance when they realised he was showing the symptoms of a life-threatening medical condition. 

First year BTEC Health and Social Care students Connor Broadhurst, Paige Reid, Hawa Ali, and Rhiannah Blake were taking the number nine bus to UCB via Great Charles Street when a fellow passenger, a man in his 50s, had a stroke. 

“There was a man at the back of the bus,” said Hawa. “He seemed fine at first, but then I noticed that his eyes were twitching and suddenly the newspaper he was reading fell to the floor.” 

“We saw his arms drop and he slumped to the side,” said Rhiannah. “The muscles in the right side of his face had dropped, too.” 

“We have recently covered strokes on our course so we recognised the symptoms straight away,” said Paige. “We got the driver to pull over and I dialled 999 to ask for an ambulance.” 

“Luckily there was also a nurse travelling on the upper level of the bus,” said Connor. “She checked the man’s pulse and we assisted with keeping everyone calm whilst we waited for the paramedics. The ambulance arrived after a short amount of time to take him to hospital.” 

During the first year of the BTEC Health and Social Care course, students take a module called Physiological Disorders which helps them to identify the signs and symptoms of numerous afflictions. One of the main focuses of this module is cerebrovascular accidents, better known as strokes.  

I am incredibly proud of the students’ ability to remember the theory they learned in class and put it into practice during a real life emergency. In a situation like that, every second counts and their quick reactions mean that not only have they potentially saved a man’s life, but they have also given him the best chance possible for a full recovery.

Tracey Queely, lecturer in Health and Social Care at UCB

The signs and symptoms of a stroke are:

  1. Face – Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  2. Arms – Can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  3. Speech – Is their speech slurred?
  4. Time – Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs.  

It is important to act FAST, as the acronym suggests. For more information, please visit the NHS website.

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