Dr Chhabra and Rachel Gittins

The heroic actions of two staff from Basildon University Hospital whilst on their summer holidays helped save the lives of two strangers.

Rachel Gittins, a paediatric associate practitioner, gave CPR to a little girl who was lifeless at the bottom of a swimming pool in Malta.

Whilst Dr Deepika Chhabra, locum consultant in acute medicine, helped a man with a nut allergy suffering anaphylactic shock mid-flight.

Rachel Gittins has been hailed a hero by the family of Holly Lever thanks to her “quick-thinking and professionalism”.

The parents of Holly, age three, turned their backs for just a moment to find Holly had removed her armbands and jumped into the deep end of the swimming pool.

She was found at the bottom of the pool by another holiday guest, but Rachel immediately started CPR and compressions, eventually reviving her on the second round.

Holly’s mum Kath said: “Rachel is truly amazing and we will be eternally grateful for her help. If it hadn’t for her quick-thinking and professionalism, Holly wouldn’t be with us today and things could have been so very different.

“Within the time it took just to put our drinks on the table, Holly had walked along to a deeper section of the pool, taken off her own armbands and got in, and then she just couldn’t get back up.

“It just goes to show that anything can happen at any time. The fact is that things can change in a few seconds and every second certainly counts in that situation.

“Rachel came to greet us on Holly’s return from hospital to make sure that all was okay and we also wanted to hug her and say thank you so much for saving our daughter’s life.”

Rachel, pictured with Holly, said: “Instinct just kicked in. I’m just so relieved I was able to help.”

Meanwhile, an airline has thanked Dr Deepika Chhabra for springing into action mid-flight and saving the life of a patient with a nut allergy.

Dr Chhabra was flying to Delhi to visit her parents in July when a call went out over the intercom asking if there was a doctor on board and she went forward to help.

A passenger, who also happened to be a cardiologist, was suffering anaphylactic shock. The patient needed emergency treatment for anaphylaxis which Dr Chhabra administered with the help of the flight crew.

Now the airline has written to Dr Chhabra to say thank you.

Dr Chhabra, said: “I was quite surprised to receive the letter as I have been on a flight before and given medical help but never received a thank you letter.

“The excellent crew were amazing and very quick to do what I asked. The patient recovered well and remained stable during the flight, during which we closely monitored him.

“When I landed and told my parents, they were very proud and happy that I was good doctor and used my knowledge and skills to help save a patient’s life.”

Clare Culpin, managing director at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals, said: “It’s amazing to hear about the action taken by our staff, their professionalism, skill and compassion was outstanding. We are very proud of them both.”

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  • Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
    Nethermayne, Basildon
    Essex  SS16 5NL
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    Nethermayne, Basildon
    Essex SS16 5NL
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