Gino's a life-saver

Friday 21st January 2022 7:00 am

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AN OFF-duty paramedic was "in the right place at the right time" when a girl was rescued from the sea last summer.

Gino Matella’s swift action helped save the life of the girl who had been dragged out of the sea at Porthcawl last summer.

Gino has been presented with a Chief Executive’s Commendation for his actions by the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Jason Killens.

Gino, who has been with the ambulance service for 37 years was alerted by a friend to two teenage boys dragging a young girl out of the sea.

He ran down to the shore where he instinctively began to assess the girl, who had been sucked underwater.

Gino, who lives in Portskewett near Caldicot, said:"I asked the boys to lay her down flat on her back away from the water so I could begin checking her vital signs,

"I noticed her pulse was very slow and her breathing wasn’t there and thought, ’we are in serious trouble here.

"Luckily she brought up some clear fluid, which is a good sign."

Shouting for the lifeguard and for an ambulance to be called, Gino continued to monitor the girl and brought her inland as the tide was rising.

He said: "I really needed some equipment there and the lifeguard arrived quickly with some oxygen.

"As I moved her up the beach, she was still not conscious but her pupils were beginning to contract to a normal diameter.

"I remember trying to keep her warm and monitor very closely her vital signs, which thankfully were returning."

The first of the emergency services to arrive was the ambulance service’s Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) who took over.

Gino, who is originally from Rome, said: "When my colleagues arrived, I went to comfort the girl’s mother who was naturally very upset and explained to her what was happening and that her daughter was improving.

"I am happy to accept this recognition and wish to pay tribute to all my colleagues who attended that day.

"It was a bit of a blur, but dealing with situations like this is not out of the ordinary for me - it is what I do.

"But, it remains absolutely vital that members of the public are aware of CPR and even how to use a defibrillator for when emergencies occur in public or at work."

Robert Huish, of HART, said: "It was a boiling hot day and the beach was packed.

"Gino had done a lot of the hard work and when we arrived we had all the right tools to do the job.

"The family were very lucky that day that Gino was in the right place at the right time.’’

Mr Killens said: "Our frontline staff are never really off-duty.

"Whilst enjoying precious time with his own family, Gino instinctively stepped in to help another family and his years of experience helped achieve the best outcome.’’

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