Grandfather claims pothole saved his life

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Grandfather claims pothole saved his life

It's not often a good news story appears on AOL Cars that features the word 'pothole' in the headline but for one elderly man, they are a lifesaver.

Ray Lee collapsed at home after his heart rate soared to 190 beats per minute following an exercise session.

His wife called the ambulance fearing the onset of a heart attack but when medical staff arrived, they feared he had suffered a suspected ventricular tachycardia attack – a potentially fatal heart rhythm.

Once at Salisbury District Hospital, staff would have looked to re-start Mr Lee's heart in a bid to get it beating properly again but thanks to a mottled road surface, they didn't have to.

The ambulance hit a particularly bad pothole, sending Mr Lee bouncing clear of the stretcher and when he landed, his heart had reset itself to a healthy 60bpm.

"The paramedics gave me an injection and strapped me to an ECG machine, which showed my heart was going at 186 beats per minute," Mr Lee, 65, told the Daily Mail.

"We raced along the roads at high speed, with a medic standing in the back, leaning over me.

"All of a sudden, there was a massive bang as we smacked into a pothole and the whole ambulance jolted. Everyone on board jumped and I was lifted off the stretcher, before falling back into place.

"After a few seconds I readjusted myself, settled back down, and looked over at the monitor to see my heart rate had plummeted to 60bpm".

He added: "The paramedic looked at me in a state of disbelief, but nobody said anything because we were so focused on getting to hospital."

Once at the hospital, medics treated Mr Lee for pain but didn't have to carry out the planned emergency procedure.

Mr Lee said: "I'd been cursing the council for months about the state of the roads because I spend my life dodging potholes, but now I never want them to fill in another pothole again.

"I can't say the pothole alone saved me – the wonderful paramedics and doctors did that – but bumping over it did make things easier."

South Western Ambulance Service confirmed that one of its vehicles hit a large pothole and that the patient's heart rate subsequently fell.