PUBLISHED: 07:58 10 November 2018
Keith Devine has praised staff at Weston General Hospital. Picture: Keith Devine
A Weston-super-Mare man has praised medics who revived him after his heart stopped beating for four minutes.
Keith Devine’s heart stopped at the New Court Surgery, in Locking Road, and he was resuscitated by a doctor and urgently rushed to the intensive care unit (ICU) at Weston General Hospital.
He had been feeling unwell for a number of months which manifested itself in a severe loss of appetite, physical sickness, diarrhoea, and loss of sleep caused by a daily intake of 12 co-codamol tablets and amitriptyline, a strong anti-depressant and sedative.
These were prescribed by his GP for excessive and constant pain following a hernia mesh repair operation in November 2016 which went wrong.
His potassium levels were ‘dangerously low’ on September 14 prior to the incident – a normal reading would lie between 3.5 and five milliequivalents per litre of blood, but Keith’s was just 1.4.
The brain can survive for about six minutes after the heart stops and Keith described the pain as being ‘unbearable’.
He said: “It felt like my heart was trying to get out of my chest, the pain was unbearable.
“It was only the expedient actions of one of the doctors at New Court who managed to partially revive me and also to instruct surgery staff to call an ambulance.
“I only have a vague recollection of my time in the ambulance but I do remember I couldn’t form answers to basic questions such as how I was feeling or even to cite my correct date of birth.
“The doctor told me that in 25 years he had never known anyone with a potassium level so low.
“I then received 24-hour nursing support and medication, which included significant quantities of potassium.
“It was obvious to me Weston General is an exemplary emergency care unit full of dedicated individuals with a patient care focus and consummate levels of experience and knowledge.
“In a time of true desperation I have never felt so looked after and the staff literally saved my life.”
Keith has received letters of wellwishes from Weston’s MP John Penrose and Elaine Jones, ICU manager at the hospital, who said her team was ‘pleased’ to see Keith ‘return to health in such a short time’.
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