A trainee paramedic has returned from teaching life-saving skills, including handling suspected heart attacks, at the Everest Base Camp.
Justin Honey-Jones from the London Ambulance Service trekked 76 miles, climbed 17,500 feet above sea level and endured altitude sickness on his Nepal expedition.
However, he said it had been worth the hardship to help train locals and trekkers how to use a defibrillator.
Mr Honey-Jones, who spent 12 months preparing for his visit, told the Standard: “Anyone can save a life — it’s about education.
“I put my body through hell to prove a point. I’ve seen people die because members of the public are afraid to use a defibrillator [that shocks the heart back to normal].
“They’re afraid to use them in case they get it wrong. Yet combining cardiopulmonary resuscitation, delivered by a bystander, with an automatic portable defibrillator can increase the chances of survival. This is in addition to realising someone needs help and calling the ambulance service.”
The guides who accompanied Mr Honey-Jones — who spent 10 years as a first aid trainer — from Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp and back were among those that benefited from his experience.
The techniques he taught during his 10-day visit last month also included bleeding control, the recovery position and how to stop choking.
This was despite suffering altitude sickness symptoms such as pounding headaches and shortness of breath.
No access to extensive CPR training exists in the area Mr Honey-Jones visited, and the Nepal Ambulance Service was only launched in 2011.
The NAS receives little government support, according to its charity arm, despite its vital work assisting tens of thousands injured in the 2015 earthquake. Hospitals are days away on foot, and seriously ill people often travel to them in pick-up trucks via unsurfaced roads. Mr Honey-Jones’s trek helped raise £1,838 for the British Heart Foundation.
The trainee paramedic, who joined the LAS in 2014, volunteers for the charity. He delivers their Heartstart programme which he used to train trekkers and guides on his Nepal trip.
This free initiative teaches the public emergency life-saving skills such as CPR.
Assistant director of operations at LAS Ian Johns said: “I hope his efforts will encourage people to learn CPR and how to use a defibrillator. If someone in cardiac arrest is given a shock by a defibrillator, they are more likely to survive.”
Everest Base Camp is where climbers go to acclimatise for several months before attempting the earth’s highest mountain.