Off-duty Emergency Department ‘hero’ saves vulnerable patient

EDA Michael Smytheman

An off duty healthcare worker from Blackpool Victoria Hospital has been hailed a hero for helping a vulnerable member of the public avoid potentially fatal harm.

Michael Smytheman, 39, an Emergency Department Assistant at the Vic, recognised a woman standing in the middle of a busy road, in obvious distress and immediately stepped in to help.

Michael said: “I was driving home along Newton Road when I saw a woman in the middle of the road. It was lashing down with rain and she had no coat on and was wearing slippers. I recognised her from being a patient and I remembered she was epileptic so I needed to help.

“I turned the car round and parked up and dialled 999 to explain the situation and ask which service would be best in the circumstances. I spoke to the patient who was in obvious distress.

“Luckily, a nurse from the hospital was walking home from work. She continued the phone conversation while I tried to calm the patient down.’’

Police arrived quickly and Michael accompanied them and the patient to the Emergency Department to get her booked in for treatment.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital Oncology nurse, Becky Ingham, happened to be walking home and witnessed Michael helping the patient.

She said: “I saw Michael in the middle of the road helping a distressed and vulnerable lady. I went over to see if I could help in any way and carried on the phone conversation with the emergency services while Michael tried to calm the lady down.

“Michael was absolutely brilliant in how he dealt with her and how he handled a very difficult situation.

“I was so impressed with all his efforts. He had a wonderful nature and was so reassuring, managed to keep her safe and essentially saved her life. I felt he demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to his profession and acted with compassion and courage. He was a hero.”

Head of Emergency Medicine, Dr Anthony Kearns, said: “What Michael did is indicative of the care and dedication of our Emergency Department team.

“We are very proud of Michael and how he acted that evening. He averted what could have been a potential fatal incident.”

Michael added: “Despite being on annual leave at the time, I knew I couldn’t just leave her. She has complex needs and I wanted to make sure she got help quickly. It was dark and I don’t know if anyone else would have known what to do. I booked her in at ED and made sure she was safely in the hands of the team before I left.”


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