Off-duty nurse receives award for saving a life on Isle of Wight ferry

In March 2016, Exeter Hospiscare nurse Daisy McLauchlan was travelling back from a weekend break on the Isle of Wight, when a call was sent out over the ship’s tannoy system asking for any doctors, nurses or first aiders on board to urgently make their way to the front of the vessel.

Daisy with her AwardDaisy commented: “I was traveling with my husband Christopher, also a medic who was in the washroom when the call went out.  So I made my way to the front of the ship where a crowd was gathered.  A man was lying on the floor unresponsive and cyanosed. 

Daisy continued, “I checked his vital signs, he was not breathing and had no pulse.  My husband then arrived at the scene and we asked the crew for a defibrillator and pocket mask, which they produced very quickly.

At this point a woman in cycling gear stepped forward and asked if she could assist us.  She was an off-duty police officer.  So as a team of three we started trying to revive the man on the floor.  My husband used the defibrillator, I used the pocket mask administering breaths and the off-duty police officer worked on chest compressions.

“It’s very different trying to save a life when you are outside of the normal medical environment, without all the backup and equipment you usually have to hand. It made all those mandatory training days I’ve had over 33 years of nursing worthwhile!

“We administered four shocks with the defibrillator and as the ship docked he started to breathe again, although he did stop and start a few times before we handed over to the ambulance crew who came aboard.

“It was a good few months later that I heard from the Royal Humane Society, who wrote to us with the news that we were going to receive an award.  I felt very proud to have been part of saving that gentleman’s life.  I know at the time he spent a couple of weeks in intensive care but I believe he has now made a full recovery, which is fantastic news.”

Daisy, Christopher and the off-duty police officer all attended a Royal Humane Society ceremony in London on 26th June 2017 at the Metropolitan Police Headquarters.  Daisy received an award from Craig Mackey, Deputy Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Service, commending Daisy for praiseworthy action in assisting in saving a man’s life.