[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
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."


SEE ALSO
Emergency text service pioneered
27 Apr 06 |  Edinburgh and East

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific