Teen asthma sufferer Harrison Grose meets the heroes who saved his life
A Bishop’s Stortford teenager and his grateful parents have thanked the three heroes who saved his life.
Harrison Grose, 17, is studying the IB (International Baccalaureate) at Hockerill Anglo-European College and has high hopes of becoming an air traffic controller.
But on January 28, life took a dramatic turn for the Year 12 student – he almost died when he suffered the worst asthma attack of his life during the early hours. He called 999 while his mum was asleep in bed, but he passed out before the paramedics arrived.
He was rushed to Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) in Harlow where the doctors and nurses spent hours fighting to stabilise him, and he was then placed in an induced coma, his blood was de-acidified and he was hooked up to a machine to do his breathing.
Eight hours after he arrived at PAH, Harrison was brought around and, miraculously, has since made a full recovery.
But his mum and dad, Karen and Jonathan Grose, know that things could have turned out very differently if it had not been for a lifesaving team from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST).
Last Wednesday (February 27), Harrison, Karen and Jonathan met paramedics Dave Hatcher-Cross and Phil Smith, along with 20-year-old Emily Chapman, who answered Harrison’s 999 call. They met at Ruby’s Indian Restaurant in Hockerill Street, where Harrison works as a waiter on Friday and Saturday evenings.
The Groses presented them each with a bottle of Champagne and a thank you card, and Mo Kamaly – Harrison’s boss – promised each of them a meal for two on the house.
At the reunion, the family and the EEAST trio shared their memories of the night when Harrison almost lost his life.
Emily, who was only four months into her role as a call handler, realised Harrison was in a bad way as soon as his 999 call came through. He was breathless, struggling to speak and his inhalers were not giving him any relief.
She asked him if there was anyone else in the house, and Harrison told her that his mum was there, but she was asleep. He told Emily “give me a minute and I’ll go and wake my mum up”, but then he fell silent.
Emily could hear some background noise coming through the phone, so she knew that Harrison had not gone off the line, but she had not heard him get up to wake his mum.
She stayed on the phone and listened as she waited for Dave and Phil to get to the scene. When the pair arrived at Karen and Harrison’s Bishop’s Park home, they could immediately tell something was very wrong.
Karen was woken by Dave and Phil, who were eight hours into a 12-hour shift, bashing on her front door. She went to check on Harrison and found him unconscious. Emily was still on the phone and she heard Karen come into the room and try to wake Harrison.
Dave and Phil called up to Karen and asked her to let them in. Emily stayed on the line until she heard the pair come in to Harrison’s bedroom and begin to treat him.
“There is a heaviness on your shoulders; you are with someone who is profoundly unwell and their life is hanging by a thread,” Dave told Karen and Jonathan.
But Dave and Phil have many years’ of experience. Dave has been working for EEAST for 28 years, while Phil has done the job for a decade and they have been partnered together for three years from the hub in Welwyn Garden City. “We do what we do as a crew and we do it every shift, it’s almost like being married,” said Phil.
Dave has a 12-year-old daughter, while Phil has a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old, so they were both deeply concerned about Harrison.
Phil told him: “In nearly 11 years, I’ve never seen a teenager as bad as you were.”
Dave added: “You were terribly blue when we first arrived.”
Both Dave and Phil commended Karen for remaining so calm on the night. She called Jonathan, who lives at St Michael’s Hurst, and let him know what was happening. He arrived minutes later and the pair of them braced themselves for a long night in hospital.
When they arrived at PAH, Dave and Phil had contacted staff at the hospital to let them know the severity of Harrison’s condition. Several doctors and nurses were there waiting to begin working on him.
A couple of days later, Harrison had gone from intensive care to high dependency and then to Locke Ward, where patients with complex respiratory problems are cared for.
Dave and Phil returned to the hospital to see if there were any updates on his condition. They were told that he was just about to check out so were taken to meet Harrison and they were pleased to see he was doing well.
“It was a huge relief, the potential for tragedy felt huge, so the relief felt palpable,” Dave said.