‘I just can’t say thank you enough’

Paul Winsor, Neil Bustin, Julie, Alex and son Tom, Jennie Bleach and Stuart Lade. SUS-151210-102612001
Paul Winsor, Neil Bustin, Julie, Alex and son Tom, Jennie Bleach and Stuart Lade. SUS-151210-102612001

A woman who was given CPR by her husband and son before being fully resuscitated by paramedics has thanked them for saving her life.

Julie Francis,50, suffered a cardiac arrest at her home in Plumpton Green on the evening of July 1, 2014 while eating a tuna sandwich.

After she suddenly collapsed in front of husband Alex, he acted quickly by telling son Tom, 20, to dial 999 and help him commence CPR.

Alex, who received first aid training through diving and work, attempted to resuscitate Julie until paramedic Neil Bustin and emergency care support worker Robert Henderson arrived, along with community first responder, Jonathan Dowe.

Next to arrive was paramedic Jennie Bleach and student paramedic Stuart Lade. Together, the team continued to resuscitate Julie and administered a shock with a defibrillator to restart her heart.

Additional back up was provided by critical care paramedic Paul Windsor and paramedic Tom Hastings, who joined in stabilising Julie before she was taken to Royal Sussex County Hospital having regained consciousness.

Julie had an internal defibrillator fitted for what was discovered to be a genetic heart condition. Two weeks in hospital were followed by four weeks recovering at home before Julie was able to return to her work in the village store.

Julie said: “Expressing my gratitude to everyone involved is difficult. A person can’t say thank you enough when an event like this happens. It takes a special kind of person to work for the ambulance service and obviously Alex and Tom made a huge difference prior to everyone arriving. The care I received in hospital was amazing too. I’m not good with hospitals but I couldn’t fault a single part.”

Alex was keen to stress the importance of learning CPR, adding that a lot of people had undergone courses after hearing of what happened to Julie. “I think it’s so important people take the time to learn CPR and it should be compulsory for pupils to learn in school. I was obviously so worried but I tried to be as calm as possible and do what I had been taught. I did it. I may have broken six of her ribs but she’s alive.”

Critical care paramedic Paul Winsor added: “I have no doubt the actions of Alex and Tom were instrumental in ensuring my colleagues were able to restart Julie’s heart. We worked really well as a team and we wish her and her family all the best for the future.”

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