When Sue’s husband collapsed from a heart attack her nursery school CPR training saved his life. She managed to keep him alive until paramedics arrived with a defibrillator.
Everything Sue had learnt on a first aid course at her nursery school a few years ago kicked in and, after calling 999, she started CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation).
“It’s amazing how when the adrenalin starts flowing you just do what you have to. I remembered the trainer at the nursery telling us that resuscitation was exactly the same for children as adults except for the rescue breaths at the beginning and that we needed to be more forceful when working with adults. I also remember the trainer telling us not to worry about breaking any ribs because broken ribs are not as serious as dying, which is just as well as I broke two of my husband’s ribs.”
What most surprised Sue was her quick reaction and the fact that without thinking she remembered the procedure she had been taught. Check for Danger – “The dog was running wildly around my husband’s head and so I first locked him in another room before starting to resuscitate.”
Her husband had a major heart attack. Sue resuscitated him for 10 minutes until the paramedics arrived and it then took them 2 hours to stabilise him. He stopped breathing four times, before they could transfer him to the ambulance. He has since made a full recovery.
To look at him you would be surprised. At the time he was 42, slim and certainly didn’t look like a heart attack victim, apart from smoking too much which he has now given up.
“Thank goodness my wife knew what to do,” he said, “Let’s face it I am very very lucky to be here and if Sue hadn’t been on a first aid course I probably wouldn’t be.”
Sue explained that her husband woke up in the middle of the night with a headache.
“I didn’t think anything because he had had a headache for the past two days. But then he said that he felt very weird and he asked me to come downstairs with him because he felt scared. I thought that was very odd and unlike him.
“I didn’t want to take him to hospital just with a headache so I was on the phone to NHS direct when he collapsed.
“I could see he was going grey and couldn’t breathe, so I started to do CPR. Everything from the course at the nursery came back to me. I remembered the breaths to chest compressions, knew that if it was an adult I needed to be forceful and I just went on auto pilot.
“The 999 people were very helpful talking me through the steps. It took 10 minutes for the ambulance to arrive and I just kept doing the CPR. When the doorbell rang I didn’t know what to do, should I answer it or carry on with CPR? The 999 people said just leave him quickly.
“It took 2 hours for the paramedics to stabilise him so they could transfer him to hospital. They told me that if I hadn’t had done CPR my husband would have just died. And if I hadn’t have been on a course I really wouldn’t have known what to do. It just all came back to me instantly, even though we had done it on child dummies.
“It was very scary and it was only when the paramedics arrived and took over that I thought thank goodness it is out of my hands now.
“So many of my friends have gone on first aid courses now because they have told me that they wouldn’t have known what to do had it happened to them and that their husbands would probably have been dead by the time the paramedics arrived.”