It was a Sunday morning and Chloe was back from university for a family shopping trip to IKEA. She remembers feeling normal on the drive home, but when she was assembling furniture in her bedroom she fell to the floor and started fitting. Chloe had never had a fit before and she’d never had an ambulance called to her side. The next thing she knew she was waking up from a coma in The Royal London Hospital.
The speed and decision-making of the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and the London’s Air Ambulance advanced trauma team was vital in protecting Chloe’s brain. A rare neurological condition caused the 21-year-old to have a life-threatening seizure, but by placing Chloe into an induced coma the doctors and paramedics on scene allowed her brain to rest.
“I truly believe that on that day London’s Air Ambulance they saved her life. If they hadn’t come and done what they did, would she have stopped convulsing? Would she have brain damage?” said Chloe’s mum Heidi, who has helped piece together what happened that Sunday morning.
“My husband and I were in two different rooms trying to put drawers and all sorts of things together and we heard this crash. I thought ‘oh, she’s dropped something’. But for whatever reason my husband didn’t feel right and walked into her room to find her on the floor.”
“She’s the youngest of our three children. We’d never called an ambulance, they’d never broken a bone. It was so unexpected and I didn’t know what to do. She wouldn’t wake up, we couldn’t stop her fitting.”
An LAS rapid response paramedic quickly arrived on scene and Heidi was told Chloe needed to be treated for the worst.
“At that point an ambulance arrived and very quickly there was a conversation about getting her some specialist help. Then there was talk about where the air ambulance was going to arrive and I just felt really weird because I thought – that’s for serious things.”
“When the teams arrived everyone was really calm. I remember my husband and I stood there feeling relief – like, it’s ok because they’re in control”
The London’s Air Ambulance team landed in a nearby school playing field and placed Chloe into an induced coma to protect her brain, not knowing what had caused her unexpected seizure. She was then airlifted to The Royal London Hospital where she was examined, treated and diagnosed.
Chloe’s diagnosis was Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy, a very rare neurological condition characterised by thyroid autoimmunity, which often goes undiagnosed. She is now receiving treatment and making a good recovery.
“I didn’t have to miss anything at uni – I was back in September. I didn’t have to defer. Now I’m doing my dissertation on terrorism, focusing on how we as a country have come from the threat of the IRA and adapted to global terrorism.”
Chloe and Heidi celebrated Chloe’s 21st birthday in January by paying a visit to the helipad and visiting the team who helped save her life.
“Now we as a family know that London’s Air Ambulance is a charity, we will always make sure we support the fundraising however we can, some way or another. I would never want another family not to have the opportunity that Chloe had”, Heidi said.
“The impact they have on not just patients but their families, friends and relatives as well is huge. We’re indebted. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough .”