A grandfather today paid tribute to three heroes who helped save his life after he suffered a heart attack.
David Turner, 74, said ambulance staff and a quick-thinking resident rushed to help after he suddenly collapsed while out walking in Knott End.
Thanks to members of the public, a passing patient transport service (PTS) was hailed and the ambulance team – Marica Hacking and Paul Minns – pulled over and started giving chest compressions.
Knott End Squash Club owner Lyn Bradley then used a defibrillator to give Mr Turner three electric shocks – helping to save the pensioner’s life.
After recovering from gruelling triple heart bypass surgery, Mr Turner thanked the trio.
He added: “Without everyone’s help, I wouldn’t be here today. I normally walk to Knott End and exercise several times a week.
“I was very lucky that everyone was so helpful and the community spirit was fantastic. The fact the squash club had a defibrillator close by meant I was able to receive treatment quickly and, ultimately, saved my life.”
PTS crew members transport patients to and from pre-booked hospital and clinical appointments and are not sent to attend to emergency incidents.
“It is not often that we attend to emergency incidents as we are a service that provides patient transfers across the region,” said PTS crew member Marica.
“Sometimes we may assist in large jobs where extra resources are required but we don’t receive emergency 999 calls like this. But it was very fortunate that we were in the right place, at the right time to help David and it is fantastic to meet up with him again.
“There is a strong community spirit in Knott End and we were made very aware of that on the day of this incident as everyone played their part in caring for him.”
David’s wife Hazel, 66, has now said it should be compulsory for defibrillators to be in public areas.
She added: “I am thankful to everyone who played their part in saving my husband’s life. The quick reaction of everyone in helping David is why he is still here today. It should be compulsory for the equipment to be placed in public places.”
Mark Evans, community resuscitation manager for Lancashire, said: “It’s always fantastic to hear of a positive outcome from the use of a defibrillator.
“For every one minute someone is in cardiac arrest, their chances of survival drop by 15 per cent but the use of a defibrillator so quickly on Mr Turner would have improved his survival chances.”
The North West Ambulance Service is currently leading a project launched last week at the House of Commons in collaboration with Andy Burnham MP.
The project aims to make it compulsory to place defibrillators in all public places and is striving to make it compulsory for school leavers to know crucial life-saving skills such as resuscitation.
Mr Evans added: “David’s story is an example of an incredible success whilst using one of these machines and they can be used by as the device takes you through the steps of how to use it appropriately.
“It will only shock the patient if it detects an irregular heart rhythm and will not shock unless it needs to.”