Posted: 30.06.20 at 15:14 by The Editor
A 12 year old girl was saved by the RNLI at Teddington Lock last week.
The Teddington RNLI saved the girl just after 6:30pm following a busy day with many taking to the banks of the Thames to enjoy the sunshine.
Teddington RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer and Crew Paul Stallard was off-duty and sitting with a friend, only ten metres from the incident, close to the lock.
He explains: “I first noticed a teenage boy carrying his sister in his arms to the grassy bank near where we were sitting. They were both dripping wet and he put towels on her to keep her warm. A policeman on patrol quickly assessed the situation.
“I decided to walk over and offer my assistance to the policeman, explaining that I am in Teddington RNLI and emergency first aid trained. He agreed for me to assess the girl and help to reassure the brother.
“His sister had been swimming in the Thames with friends and hit her head on a ledge while jumping back into the river and then got into difficulty. Her brother pulled her out of the water and carried her to safety.
“It became apparent to me that his sister was showing signs of concussion, was very pale and in danger of deteriorating in her condition.
“I didn’t want to take any risk of her losing consciousness or suffering potential secondary drowning either so I quickly phoned one of our most experienced Teddington RNLI helms, Tim James and shared the on-scene situation with him."
Tim James takes up the story: “I asked Paul for key information. Was she or anyone else in any danger, was she responsive, did she have a catastrophic or life threatening bleed?
“Then I asked him to confirm that she had a good airway, that she was breathing and that she had good circulation. He said she was talking, but very cold and drowsy.
“Within two minutes an ambulance and fast response paramedic were dispatched as this was considered a high priority call.
“I then passed Paul's number to the ambulance crew via the London Coastguard, called another member of the crew Jon Barker, to assist Paul with any other medical interventions that may be needed before the Ambulance crew arrived, he also called on trusty crew mate Howard."
Paul continues: “Jon and Howard were on scene within a few minutes of Tim’s call and helped me to monitor the situation. The girl was becoming more shivery so I asked the policeman if I could borrow his police vest to add another layer of warmth and he said of course.
“Even in hot weather the River Thames can be extremely cold.
“The policeman ensured that members of the public kept clear, socially distant and calm. We continually assessed the girl and reassured the boy. Her mum then arrived and was understandably upset.
“The RNLI Casualty Care/Emergency First Aid training of myself, Jon and Howard together with the professionalism of the policeman ensured we collectively kept the casualty stable and her brother and mum calm.
“The brother did great of course in helping his sister out of the water and carrying her to safety in the first place. Myself and my Teddington RNLI colleagues just did what we are trained to do. The ambulance arrived within a few minutes of my call to Tim.”
Tim adds: “The ambulance crew had assessed the young girl, were keeping her warm in the ambulance and were taking her off to hospital for further checks. So all in all this was a very good outcome to what could have been a potentially more life changing event.’
Please use and enjoy the river safely, wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid and remember even on the hottest days the water is still very cold.
If you do see someone in difficulty in the water on the River Thames please dial 999 and ask for the London Coastguard.
Do not assume that someone else has already called for help.