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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Text service for deaf helps woman
Robert Walker, Michelle Mitchell and children
Both Robert Walker and Michelle Mitchell are profoundly deaf
A deaf couple have become the first to use a pioneering scheme to contact the emergency services by text message.

Robert Walker used the service when his wife, Michelle Mitchell, thought she was having a heart attack.

An ambulance arrived within 10 minutes at the profoundly deaf couple's home in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

A spokesman for Fife Constabulary urged anyone who is deaf in the area to register for the service, which was launched in April.

Heart murmur

On Wednesday Mr Walker, through a sign language interpreter, said: "Michelle came into the living room looking terrible and saying she had pains in her chest.

"We were really worried because she had had a heart murmur when she was younger and thought she was having a heart attack.

"I used my mobile phone to text the police that my partner was having a heart attack. Just 10 minutes later, an ambulance was at the door."

Ms Mitchell was taken to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, where her symptoms turned out to be a false alarm.

She said: "I really thought I was having a heart attack and I was so relieved that Robert was able to contact the police.

"If we had not registered I don't know what we would have done."

Fife Council's Deaf Communication Service sign language interpreter Debbie Dougall said: "It's easy to forget how difficult it can be for a deaf person in a hearing world."

Ch Insp Alistair McKeen of Fife Constabulary said: "We are naturally delighted that in such a short space of time since the service was launched, it has been of benefit in a potentially life-threatening situation."

Emergency text service pioneered
27 Apr 06 |  Edinburgh and East

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