A 12-year-old girl has had an emotional reunion with the emergency responders who helped save her life after she suffered cardiac arrest in July.

Lexi Ashwell was at her home in Upper Caldecote on July 10 when her mum, Michelle, heard her scream just after 10pm and watched her walk around in a confused state before stumbling and falling on to the floor.

Michelle quickly realised this was a medical emergency and her husband, Shane, called 999, with the call handler instructing Michelle to start CPR immediately.

Michelle took it in turns to perform CPR with her eldest daughter, Allyssa, who had called her partner, Rob, as his mum, Elizabeth Dobb, works as an emergency medical technician at the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST).


After being woken with the news by her son, Elizabeth rushed the three miles from her home in Sandy to Upper Caldecote.

EEAST’s control room had called Bedfordshire Police for a co-response due to the nature of the incident and PC Ayesha Hussain and PC Katie Dyball were dispatched to the scene.

Arriving first on scene, PC Hussain took over the CPR from Michelle and Allyssa.

Elizabeth arrived on scene shortly after and was followed by community first responder Dave Wright, who had a defibrillator in his medical kit bag.


Elizabeth was able to administer Lexi with a first shock to help restore a normal heart rhythm, and when this didn’t happen CPR started again.

Shaun Whittington, an advanced paramedic in urgent care, was next on scene, followed by an ambulance with emergency medical technician Fiona Lipscombe and Robert Green, another advanced paramedic in urgent care.

Shaun took over the lead on Lexi’s treatment and administered another shock with a defibrillator, which achieved the resumption of a normal heart rate, known as a return of spontaneous circulation.

A response car from the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) with Dr Emma Butterfield and critical care paramedic Gary Spitzer had been dispatched to provide advanced critical care and took over the lead on Lexi’s care when they arrived on scene.  

After assessing Lexi, the EAAA team performed a rapid general anaesthetic – a procedure usually only available in a hospital – to protect Lexi’s vital functions, and travelled with her in the land ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.


Lexi spent a week in Addenbrooke’s before being transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where she was fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator - a device that detects any life-threatening abnormal heartbeat and sends an electrical shock to change the heart rhythm back to normal.

She has been rehabilitating since by gradually increasing the amount of daily activity, and is set to go back to school next month.

Lexi and her family visited Biggleswade Ambulance Station to meet some of the people who worked together to bring her back to life.


Michelle said: “We are deeply indebted to everyone who helped save Lexi’s life and we cannot express our gratitude enough.

“Seeing everyone all together again brings back memories of that night and really brings home how lucky we are that Lexi is still with us.

“It has been quite a journey for Lexi and quite a lot for her to come to terms with. We are hoping she can get back to some form of normality by returning to school next month.

“We would like some good to come from our experience and we are pushing for more members of the public to be taught CPR, as you never know when it will be needed.”

Elizabeth said: “I’m so thankful everyone's actions were able to save Lexi’s life and she now has the rest of her life in front of her."