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Grantham parents thank emergency heroes who saved three-year-old son’s life

Max Barnett sits in the driving seat of an ambulance.
Max Barnett sits in the driving seat of an ambulance.

The parents of a three-year-old boy have met the heroes who saved their son’s life after he suffered a serious fit at their home.

Martin and Jess Barnett met the two volunteer RAF responders and the ambulance paramedic and technician who were at the house in minutes to save Max.

From left, James Crichton (Ambulance), Colin Maddams (Ambulance), James Roper (Police, responder), Jess Barnett with Lottie, David Kerr (RAF), Martin Barnett with Max.
From left, James Crichton (Ambulance), Colin Maddams (Ambulance), James Roper (Police, responder), Jess Barnett with Lottie, David Kerr (RAF), Martin Barnett with Max.

The Barnett family, of Becketts Close, Grantham, thanked RAF Wittering responders James Roper and Dave Kerr who were on shift in Grantham on Sunday, March 5, and Oakham-based paramedic Colin Maddams and technician James Crichton who responded to the call in their ambulance.

Max suffered two fits that afternoon in the living room as the responders and ambulancemen tried to stabilise him.

Jess, 33, said: “He started shaking violently. His eyes were open and he was throthing at the mouth. We called 999 straight away and in less than two minutes the responders were with us. They were absolutely brilliant.”

The responders took Max’s clothes off because he had a very high temperature and made sure the area around him was safe so that he did not injure himself while fitting. While waiting for the ambulance, Max suffered a second more aggressive fit.

Max Barnett and his father Martin.
Max Barnett and his father Martin.

Responder James, a police officer in Peterborough and former RAF policeman, said: “Max was just this little bundle on the floor. My heart sank when I saw him because I thought this is a little kid who is seriously ill with a seizure. There is not a lot you can do but let it run its course.”

Dave, a senior aircraftsman at RAF Wittering, said: “Max was so hot it was like putting your hand on an iron.”

When the ambulance arrived 20 minutes later, Max was quickly transferred to the vehicle which was at the house for only three minutes before taking him to Peterborough City Hospital.

Max was given drugs in the ambulance to stop his seizure. The two ambulancemen were able to sit in the back with him and Jess while RAF responder James drove the vehicle. Being a policeman he is cleared to drive with blue lights.

Colin said: “That was a major bonus because to have been on my own in the back with Max would have been awful.”

Technician James said: “This was one of the most satisfying jobs I have ever done in terms of the care we were able to give Max.”

Once at Peterborough Hospital, Max was put into an induced coma for almost 24 hours before being transferred to the Children’s Hospital at Leicester Royal Infirmary for a further two days. He was diagnosed with a chest infection that had turned septic along with influenza. Without the timely response and quick thinking of the responders Max could have suffered a serious brain injury or lost his life.

Max’s dad Martin, 38, said of the responders: “When you realise they already have full-time jobs and then they volunteer to go and support the ambulance service, it is very humbling. I am in awe of them. They are amazing.”

Jess was also grateful to ambulancemen James and Colin who explained what they were doing with Max as he was taken to hospital. Jess said: “They explained everything to me along the way and that reassured me. I was numb because it had escalated so quickly but all I could think was these guys are taking such good care of Max and he was in the best possible hands.”

Martin and Jess, who run confectionery company The Treat Kitchen, were reunited with the emergency staff at Grantham ambulance station on Monday. Max, who attends Beacon Lane day nursery, was given a tour of the station and was able to sit in one of the ambulances and set off the sirens.

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