Paramedic named a finalist for NHS award

A paramedic who saved the life of a seriously premature baby born in his mother’s living room in Dagenham has been named a finalist for this year’s NHS Champions awards.

The awards, run by The King’s Fund, recognise the contribution of NHS staff to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NHS.

Rob Bentley was first to the scene when mum Emma Kedey went into labour at home at just 26 weeks. Baby Shadrach weighed less than one kilo and his tiny heart stopped beating moments after he was born.

Rob carried out cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on baby Shadrach by giving heart compressions with his thumbs. Rob carried on with CPR for about five minutes, at which point his colleagues began to arrive, but Shadrach still did not have a pulse.

The other staff that arrived managed to care for Emma, and supported Rob in resuscitating Shadrach, the team ensured the ambulance was prepared, engine running and ready to go so that resuscitation was not interrupted. During the journey to hospital Shadrach’s heart began to beat and by the time they arrived at hospital he was breathing on his own.

Even at this point Shadrach may not have survived. The heart is so delicate in a premature baby, there could have been internal damage, but Shadrach is now a healthy one year old.

Emma, a midwife herself, said: “Rob is a hero, he didn’t waste time and he had the confidence for the job. At the time I didn’t have any hope, ‘it’s gone’, that’s all I was waiting for them to tell me. But Shadrach is doing great. I don’t think I’ll ever forget Rob and the rest of the team for what they did that day.”

The NHS Champions award will be announced at a ceremony in Islington on Thursday 11 December. Two other members of staff – Romford Ambulance Operations Manager Steve Colhoun and student paramedic Katie Vallis are also in the finals.

London Ambulance Service Assistant Director of Operations Jason Killens said: “Our staff save lives every day, but this sort of situation is so rare that Rob and the rest of the team deserves special praise for giving baby Shadrach a chance of survival. During this emergency Rob led a small team of our staff ensuring they all worked together as a team ensuring Shadrach was given the best possible chance. Rob is a real credit to London Ambulance Service and to his profession as a whole.”

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