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Holidaymaker who suffered a diabetic episode on Southwold beach meets Suffolk Accident Rescue Service and East Anglian Air Ambulance who saved his life



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A Norfolk man who was visiting Suffolk with his wife and children when he collapsed on Southwold beach has met the crews who administered life-saving treatment to him.

Mark Youles, 46 of Garvestone who is a type one diabetic, was enjoying a camping holiday in the county in July this year.

He was taken ill on the morning of July 24, with an unusually severe hypoglycaemic episode. His wife Nicola was unable to wake him and called an ambulance to the campsite they were staying in.

Mark collapsed on Southwold beach in July this year. Picture: SARS.
Mark collapsed on Southwold beach in July this year. Picture: SARS.

Mark improved after a glucose drip was administered but continued to suffer a severe headache.

Later in the day, they decided to take a walk on Southwold beach but soon after reaching the beach Mark collapsed and suffered a number of seizures.

A RNLI lifeguard helped Mark quickly, providing him with oxygen, and a volunteer critical care team from Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) was mobilised.

He was helped by crews from SARS and EAAA. Picture: SARS.
He was helped by crews from SARS and EAAA. Picture: SARS.

The SARS team worked alongside paramedics to assess and treat Mark, stabilizing him before an air ambulance was called.

A team from the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) soon arrived and undertook further specialist interventions to keep Mark stable, which included ventilating him and administering an emergency anaesthetic to take control of his breathing and to help protect his brain.

He was airlifted to James Paget Hospital where he was later diagnosed with a brain haemorrhage.

Mark spent time in intensive care and was transferred to Adenbrooke's Hospital. The exact cause of the brain haemorrhage remains unknown, but is suspected to be linked to his diabetes.

He has made a great recovery and begun a phased return back to work at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich in mid-September.

Last week, Nicola and Mark and their boys, Oscar and Isaac, met up with the SARS and EAAA teams to thank them in person for saving Mark’s life.

Nicola, Mark and their children Oscar and Isaac, with the crews that helped save Mark's life. Picture: SARS.
Nicola, Mark and their children Oscar and Isaac, with the crews that helped save Mark's life. Picture: SARS.

Mark said: “This event, kindly arranged by EAAA and SARS has enabled my children to enjoy a fun filled afternoon and has resulted in helping to turn an otherwise very scary and unpleasant experience into one that is now filled with happy, positive memories.

"One of my main focal points now is to raise awareness that both EAAA and SARS are dependent upon donation-based funding. Prior to this incident I was myself naively unaware that such services weren’t directly funded by the NHS, with none us knowing if, or when any of us may ever (but hopefully never) actually need them.

"I would therefore simply like to take this opportunity to please convey this point to the public as well using my experience to demonstrate the very positive and real effects that can be achieved through coordinated, team efforts.”

Isaac and Oscar in the SARS car. Picture: SARS.
Isaac and Oscar in the SARS car. Picture: SARS.

Volunteer Doctor James Price was part of the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) team, who were the first critical care resource to arrive at the scene, said: “Having the opportunity to meet Mark and his family and to see him doing so well was extremely rewarding.

"His case was particularly complex due to the extremely challenging environment on the beach. We were glad to be able to work together with our Coastguard, Ambulance and East Anglian Air Ambulance colleagues to give Mark the very best chance of survival.

"It's a great illustration of the teamwork involved in the pre-hospital care of these critically ill patients and I am absolutely thrilled that there has been such a positive outcome.”

Dave Killingback, Critical Care Paramedic at EAAA who helped treat Mark, said: “July was an incredibly busy period for EAAA but I remember Mark’s case really well. I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet Mark and learn about the cause of his illness and how he is recovering now.

"By sharing his story, Mark is helping to raise awareness for both EAAA and SARS. Without the generosity of local people, we simply wouldn’t be here to help in situations like this when we’re needed to deliver critical care and help get people to hospital.”

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk