A British man has thanked the paramedics that saved him when, while night fishing with friends, a Dover sole he had just caught jumped down his throat, stopping him and triggering a heart attack.
The slippery sole jumped out of Sam Quilliam’s hands and into his windpipe “like a bar of soap”, but luckily for the 28-year-old, his friends called 999.
When paramedics arrived at Boscombe pier on October 5, Quilliam’s friends were already performing CPR under the guidance of the emergency services phone operator.
“Initially, we didn’t know the true extent of the situation or what the patient was choking on, but as we questioned them further we were told he had a whole fish stuck in his windpipe,” said paramedic Matt Harrison.
Along with his partner, Harrison managed to dislodge the sole using a laryngoscope to fully extend Quilliam’s mouth and forceps to pull the obstruction out.
“I was able to eventually dislodge the tip of the tail (using forceps) and very carefully, so as not to break the tail off I tried to remove it – although the fish’s barbs and gills were getting stuck on the way back up.
“I was acutely aware that I only had one attempt at getting this right as if I lost grip or a piece broke off and it slid further out of sight then there was nothing more that we could have done to retrieve the obstruction. Eventually, after six attempts the fish came out in one piece and to our amazement it was a whole Dover sole, measuring approximately 14cm in length,” continued Harrison.
Quilliam has no lasting effects from his cardiac arrest.
He thanked the paramedics and labelled them “a credit to the NHS”.
He said the inspiration for kissing his catch came from television fisherman Rex Hunt, an Australian who puckers up with all the fish he pulls out the water.