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ACTRESS Angela Griffin made her name as a nurse in hospital soap Holby City but was petrified and powerless when a man slit his throat right in front of her.
The 34-year-old star was filming a documentary with ambulance crews in Birmingham when they received an emergency call-out to a house where a man was threatening to kill himself.
She arrived to find police trying to calm the suicidal man down, then the unimaginable happened.
“The police were there,” she told a local paper. “But he decided that he just did not want to live.
“He had a kitchen knife in his hand, and he cut his throat right there in front of me.
“You don’t expect to see someone try to commit suicide in front of you by slitting their throat.
“It was terrible. I was freaking out. The ambulance crew rushed past me to try and save him.”
The man was rushed to hospital, where medics confirmed he had missed his jugular vein, and he survived.
The drama came as Angela, also star of Coronation Street and Waterloo Road, was spending ten weeks with West Midlands Ambulance Service for a new reality TV series.
In another shocking incident, a woman went into anaphylactic shock and died while she watched but paramedics were able to bring the victim back to life.
“We went to another call in Birmingham to a woman in her 50s who’d had an allergic reaction to prescription medicine,” Angela said. “She died in front of me. She stopped breathing and her heart stopped, but they were able to bring her back.
“That was absolutely miraculous and mind-blowing, to have that power over life and death.”
The Sky1 series Emergency With Angela Griffin, which starts next week, sees the actress ride with mercy crews from Birmingham, Dudley and Worcester.
West Midlands Ambulance Service covers 5,000 square miles and cares for five million people, handling 2,500 calls a day.
The actress spends most of the first episode in tears as she struggles to deal with the trauma of seeing ill children.
Married to actor Jason Milligan, she is mum to Tallulah Jae, aged seven, and four year-old Melissa, so she could empathise with the terrified parents of nine-week-old Archie Totney.
They took him to the Black Country Family Practice in Tipton when he had breathing difficulties, and they called an ambulance when he turned blue in the waiting room.
As they raced to the scene, Angela said: “As a mother you know that’s the worst thing in the world that could happen. I really feel for the mum. The panic she must be going through is horrendous.”
They rushed Archie to Russell’s Hall Hospital where he was treated for bronchitis.
Visiting him a few weeks later, Angela found that he had made a full recovery.
Other call-outs involved a young man who had hung himself, and a difficult situation with an abusive drunk.
The 35-year-old man, with the word `hate’ tattooed on his knuckles, injured his face in a fight. On his way to hospital, he lashed out at the ambulance crew and threatened to kill them.
“That’s outrageous,” said Angela. “I really couldn’t do their job, partly because I couldn’t hold my tongue in situations like that. I travelled with lots of crews and not one of them lost it.
“They were always so calm, patient and professional.
“What the crews see on a daily basis is incredible. We are very lucky that in this country we can call 999 and have an ambulance on our doorstep within eight minutes.
Gory “The job isn’t as gory as I thought it would be, but it’s much more upsetting and emotional. I did learn to toughen up, but I never did cope with seeing poorly children.
“It wasn’t all bad. Rushing through the streets with the sirens on, knowing you are on your way to change someone’s life, is a real buzz. And I found I had a strange ability to make people better.
“They’d say they felt ill, but when they recognised me they were like `Oh hello, can I have my picture taken with you?’ “I learned a lot, like how to cannulate a tube into a vein and put on a bandage. I like to think that if someone collapsed in front of me in the street, I wouldn’t panic now.
I’d be able to check their radial pulse and do CPR to keep them going until the ambulance arrived.
“I kind of hope it does happen now!”