Eastbourne police officers win award after saving life of man who was bleeding to death


Two Eastbourne police officerss who fought a grisly battle to save a badly injured man they found lying in a shop doorway in the early hours of the morning from bleeding to death have been awarded top national life-saving honours.

Members of an ambulance crew which was called to the scene were in no doubt that but for the swift action of PCs Vicky Bishop and Rachel Bourne the man would have bled to death.

Now the two policewomen, who were on plain clothes duty in one of the town’s crime areas, are to receive Royal Humane Society certificates of commendation. And today they also won the personal praise of Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Society.

He said, “Put simply these two officers were in the right place at the right time and as a result this man owes his life to them. He would have died if they had not turned up when they did. They richly deserve the awards they are to receive.”

The man, who is from Eastbourne, but who cannot be identified, was found by the two officers slumped in a dark and dingy shop doorway in South Street, at 3am on the morning of November 15 last year.

He was bleeding profusely from a gashed artery in his arm. The officers used a first aid kit from another police unit which arrived on the scene to bandage the arm and the man’s hand which was also injured and then applied direct pressure to the wounds to stem the bleeding.

They also managed to keep him talking even though he appeared to be drifting off into unconsciousness.

Dick Wilkinson added, “It was truly a blood bath and a horrific incident. We do not know how he came to be injured. When the ambulance arrived, the crew said that they believed that the man would soon have bled to death, without the intervention of the two officers.”

No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the awards, which have been made following a recommendation from Sussex Police, but it is expected to take place in the near future.

The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries. Its president is Princess Alexandra and it is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.

It was founded in 1774 by two of the day’s eminent medical men, William Hawes and Thomas Cogan. Their primary motive was to promote techniques of resuscitation.

However, as it emerged that numerous people were prepared to put their own lives at risk to save others, the awards scheme evolved, and today a variety of awards are made depending on the bravery involved.

The Society also awards non health care professionals who perform a successful resuscitation. Since it was set up the Society has considered over 86,000 cases and made over 200,000 awards. The Society is a registered charity which receives no public funding and is dependent on voluntary donations.

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