Rory Wiggin HEMS Junior Hero - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
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Rory Wiggin HEMS Junior Hero

Most children when asked would say their Dad is their hero. This is certainly the case for little Rory Wiggin from Budleigh Salterton in Devon. Rory’s Dad, Christian, is a real-life hero: he’s a Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care (SPCC) for Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.

But, following an incident that took place on the evening of 28th November 2021, SPCC Christian, is proud to say that his 8-year old son Rory, is his hero too.

Amidst a frightening ordeal, in which off-duty Christian, naturally stepped in to help, Rory also found himself playing an unexpectedly important role in helping to save someone’s life.

Just an ordinary stroll along the seafront with Dad

Christian and Rory were out enjoying the fresh air by the seaside in their hometown of Budleigh Salterton when they noticed a man fiddling with a defibrillator attached to a wall along the seafront.

They followed the man to a nearby house and, after looking through the window, saw there was obviously a serious medical emergency underway. Christian was initially unsure whether to go in because he had little Rory with him, but Rory, who was being unbelievably brave, insisted. So they knocked on the door, introduced themselves, and went in.

Christian positioned Rory by the front door with instructions to stand very still, be brave and look out for the ambulance before going in to attend to the patient.

The situation was serious but Christian used his years of training to identify the clinical problem and begin treatment. Within fifteen minutes Rory alerted his Dad to the sound of ambulance sirens. Christian and Rory went out to meet the Paramedics. They gave the Paramedics a clinical account of what had happened and handed over care of the patient who was slowly beginning to recover.

On reflection

The events of the evening had come so suddenly and out of the blue that Rory hadn’t had time to realise the impact of the situation. But as the dust began to settle, the significance of what had just happened started to sink in leaving Rory with mixed feelings.

On one hand, he was incredibly proud to have helped his Daddy save the life of a patient “just like he does on the helicopter”. On the other hand, he recognised the impact of the situation on the patient and on the patient’s family.

Christian has been a Paramedic for over twenty years and worked for Great Western Air Ambulance Charity since 2014. Over the course of his career, he has attended many similar situations but never with his eight-year-old son.

Christian said: “Pre-hospital critical care is all about teamwork. I had never imagined that I would ever have to attend a critical incident with my own son, but Rory more than rose to the occasion! I was super proud to have worked alongside him. The best teammate anyone could wish for and a real-life hero!”

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