By Viktor Berg
Former-Wilton mayor and current councillor Trevor Batchelder has made a remarkable recovery after a heart attack – saved by the very defibrillator he raised funds for through his mayoral appeal last year. Yesterday, Monday, September 3, he was up and about and hopeful of making a full recovery.
Trevor suffered the heart attack in his home in Castle Lane, on Saturday, August 10. He was in the kitchen making a cup of tea and was about to watch the 10 o’clock news when he felt severe pain in his chest.
He walked into the living room and said to his wife, a retired nurse: “Sheila, I don’t feel very well, and I have a pain in my chest.”
Sheila said. “He looked dreadful, he had grey and clammy skin – I knew immediately he was having a heart attack.”
She phoned 999, explained the circumstances and was told an ambulance would be with her shortly. The controller also asked if there was a defibrillator nearby. Straight away, Sheila contacted her sister, also living in Wilton, whose husband collected the defibrillator from where it had been installed in Castle Meadow Pavilion.
Trevor remained conscious for another hour before suffering a cardiac arrest. Sheila rushed over, yanked him onto the floor, thumped his chest and started CPR compressions.
Before Trevor arrested, she had had time to familiarise herself with the defibrillator. With a built-in voice command, it guided her through the process. Sheila carried out perhaps 30 compressions and the defibrillator analysed the heart which indicated a shock was needed to recommence compressions.
Twice more the cycle was repeated before the ambulance crew arrived. Later, a second ambulance arrived, as well as a cardiac crew from the First Response team, one of whom was a doctor.
After another 12 defibrillator shocks, they managed to get a pulse but concluded Trevor needed to be transported to Southampton General Hospital. However, he was not deemed stable enough and so was taken to Salisbury District Hospital where the decision was made to put him into an induced coma.
In the early hours of Sunday, August 11, he was transferred to the General Intensive Care Unit at Southampton General Hospital where Sheila and their daughter Nida, who had travelled from Yeovil, watched over him.
Later in the day, they were told to ‘not hold their hopes up’ as it was possible Trevor could wake up with brain damage, or not wake up at all.
But, when Sheila, son Simon who had arrived from Australia and Nida visited Trevor on the Tuesday morning, he was able to move his head and follow commands.
Two weeks later, Trevor was discharged and could return home with his family. Today, he is still recovering and must take it a bit easier, but the outlook is positive considering the circumstances.
“The pavilion defibrillator he fundraised for undoubtedly saved his life,” Sheila said.
“When it was launched, I remember he said: ‘I wonder who’s going to be the first one to use this’, and it was a quirk of fate that it was him.”
As an ex-military man and a very active individual, Trevor has always been fit and healthy.
Last year over ten days, he walked the 110-mile Tours de l’Oisan (GR54) – one of the French Alps’ most challenging walks, with Nida and her fiancé Dan as a 70th birthday present.
“I thought then that I was indestructible,” Trevor said.
“I would like to reinforce the importance of having accessible defibrillators in the community and to know where they are located. No one should be concerned about the ease of usage as instructions are very concise and clear. They are a lifesaver.
“My most heartfelt thanks must go to Sheila, my wife, for being so calm in a very difficult situation and she kept me functioning with CPR and defibrillator until the emergency services arrived. Furthermore, my sincere and grateful thanks go to the paramedic teams and to the staff at Salisbury and Southampton hospitals.”
In addition to the Pavilion, there are defibrillators at the Market Square and the Community Centre.