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Young Solent receptionist praised for helping heart patient

A young receptionist was today praised for the calm way in which she helped a patient suffering a suspected heart attack at a Southampton health centre.

Darcy Ames, 19, an apprentice with Solent NHS Estates and Facilities, kept her cool when the emergency situation unfolded at Bitterne Health Centre.

The patient arrived complaining of chest pains and other heart attack symptoms.

Quick-thinking Darcy sat the woman down on a chair in the waiting room and dashed to get medical help. Unable to find anyone free downstairs, she raced upstairs and found the ideal candidate – a cardiac nurse.

As well as fetching water, Darcy was able to collect more oxygen from behind the antenatal reception when the initial supply ran out.

Fiona Kinnaird, Cardiac Services Lead Nurse, said Darcy had played an important role in what had been a medical emergency.

“Darcy was really helpful,” she said. “She stayed in the reception area so I always had someone to contact, came when I needed her and got the red bag from the antenatal side when the oxygen in the reception bag ran out.

“Darcy stayed quite a long time past her work finish time until the ambulance arrived and the patient left Bitterne Health Centre.

“As nurses, we are trained to always seek help when something is out of our competence range and this is exactly what Darcy did – as well as being really helpful.”

Modest Darcy, who has worked as an apprentice receptionist at the health centre since March 2021, said it had been the first emergency situation she had faced at work.

“Helping the lady was second nature; I didn’t have to think about it and thankfully managed to keep calm and not panic,” she added.

The patient, who has not been named, was taken to Southampton General Hospital for further tests.

Mark Young, Associate Director of Estates Transformation, said: “We are all so proud of Darcy and the way she remained calm in what must have been a frightening situation. Our reception teams are amazing and this just goes show the range of situations they are able to deal with; every day a different challenge!”

Jackie Munro, Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive, said: “Darcy is a true example of a member of staff living Solent’s values; she supported her colleagues and put the patient first. We were delighted to hear this lovely feedback about her.”

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