9th May 2018

A Cwmafan woman has thanked the Wales Air Ambulance crew that helped to save her life after a catastrophic medical condition left her with a 4% chance of survival. 

April 8, 2016, started like any other day for Theresa Emmett. Whilst at the family home in Cwmafan, near Port Talbot, Theresa started to feel unwell.

Theresa said: “I started to feel this sudden shooting pain in the back of my neck. My husband, Wayne rang the non-emergency helpline and during the phone call, I fell unconscious.”

The call-handler quickly realised that Theresa’s condition had deteriorated, and an ambulance was called.

Wayne recalls the frightening experience: “I remember the ambulance arriving very quickly and then the Wales Air Ambulance also landing nearby on the green. The land crew helped to transport Theresa to the waiting helicopter where the flying medics worked on her by the roadside.”

Theresa was airlifted from Cwmafan to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where a team of specialists were already on standby. Theresa’s son, Tyrone recalls the experience: “I drove dad, my brother and sister to the hospital where we were taken straight to the relative’s room. It was a surreal experience. We waited for what seemed like hours before a consultant came and spoke to us.

“Mum had suffered a grade 5 subarachnoid haemorrhage on her brain, the most serious type of bleed. This was a very worrying time for us as a family as they had given mum just a 4% chance of surviving.

Despite the odds stacked against her, mum fought back and woke after spending six days in a coma on the Critical Care ward. When mum woke she had no feeling in her left side and was bed-bound.”

After spending several weeks recovering at the UHW, Theresa was transferred to the local hospital in Port Talbot where she underwent intensive rehabilitation to help her to learn to walk again.

In July 2016, 3 months after suffering the Haemorrhage, Theresa was discharged from hospital.

Tyrone added: “After extensive physiotherapy, mum has learnt to walk again and is making a good recovery. She still uses a walking stick but most importantly has survived her serious bleed on the brain.”

Since recovering, Theresa has been well enough to go on a family holiday to France and a well-deserved break to Lanzarote with her husband Wayne.

Tyrone said: “We owe so much to everyone in mum’s case, in particular Wales Air Ambulance for treating mum and getting her to the specialist help she needed so quickly. Time undoubtedly saved her life. We are eternally grateful to the crew.”

In 2018 Wayne and Theresa celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary, holding a grand party at the local social club. During their 50-year celebration, the family raised £200 for the helicopter charity.

Wales Air Ambulance community fundraising manager Paul Canning said: “It’s marvellous to see that Theresa has recovered so well from her ordeal. We would like to thank the family for their kind donation. The money they have raised will help fund our lifesaving work across Wales.”

Theresa added: “I certainly wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the amazing medical staff who saved my life. I owe them my life.”