A DUDLEY pharmacist who helped an elderly man suffering from seizures on a plane has been presented with a Healthcare Hero award.

Stephen Payne – a pharmacist at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust – provided urgent medical care and support to an elderly patient suffering epileptic seizures while on a flight from Birmingham to Cyprus.

Mr Payne, who was heading on holiday with family, swung into action as Alan Brettell, aged 73, suddenly began to convulse an hour into the flight.

Mr Brettell, who has suffered with epilepsy since childhood, said: “Stephen was absolutely brilliant and having him on the plane was such a wonderful coincidence. I am really grateful for his support during the flight and it just shows that even at 20,000 feet NHS workers are always ready to help.”

Alan’s wife Rose, a 76-year-old former Dudley nurse who was also with him, said: “It was a very challenging situation but with the help of Stephen we managed to make it to Cyprus and enjoy our holiday.

“The chances of us being sat in front of a former colleague from Russells Hall Hospital was incredible and we will always be grateful to him for his help.”

Stephen held his arms around Alan to support him and keep him safe from harm for the remaining two hours of the flight and he remained on the plane after landing while an ambulance arrived.

Stephen’s courageous actions saw him presented with one of the Dudley Groups monthly Healthcare Heroes awards which are bestowed on individuals and teams at the hospital trust who have gone above and beyond their role.

Dudley Group chief executive Diane Wake said: “We have had so many deserving winners of these awards in recent years but Stephen’s actions in helping Alan are fantastic.

“Not only does it show what a great healthcare professional he is, but also what a wonderful human being.”