Colin Flannery (fourth from left) is pictured with, left to right, Emergency Care Clinical Manager Graeme Scott, neighbour Derek Scott, Paramedic Claire Gilroy, Emergency Care Assistant Graham Curry and wife Gail.

CPR saved my life

Whitley Bay adds backing to Restart a Heart campaign

A Whitley Bay dad who survived after suffering from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome has been reunited with the people who saved his life.

Colin Flannery, aged 57, was at home with his wife Gail on 26 November when out of nowhere he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Gail said: “I was sitting on one sofa and Colin was on the other with his iPad on his knee. Just out of the corner of my eye I saw the iPad fall to the floor, I looked over and he was slumped over.

“There was no warning whatsoever, we had just been planning our day out and had been joking on.

“I was absolutely terrified. I think I just went into panic mode and tried to shake him. I phoned 999 straight away and they told me to try and get him on his back but I couldn’t so they asked if I could go and get help.”

Gail immediately ran across the road to her neighbour, Derek Scott, who was able to start CPR on Colin, which he kept doing for the next four minutes until the arrival of Emergency Care Clinical Manager Graeme Scott, a paramedic with 21 years of experience, backed up by paramedic Claire Gilroy and Emergency Care Assistant Graham Curry minutes later.

After three shocks with a defibrillator, Colin began breathing. He was taken to hospital where he was placed into an induced coma and, after having an internal defibrillator fitted, is now back home recovering.

He has now been reunited with Graeme, Graham and Claire - and has added his backing to North East Ambulance Service's Restart a Heart Campaign.

"I only know what Gail told me," said Colin.

“I had no pain or anything, no warning. I feel so grateful to the paramedics who saved my life and to Derek for starting the CPR so quickly.”

Derek said: “I had just dropped my wife off at the train station and was lying on my bed when there was a knock at the door. At first I thought it was a delivery man but it was Gail in her dressing gown, she was shocked and flustered and asked if I could come and help Colin.

“I just thought he had fallen over or something but when we got in the house he was slumped on the settee and didn’t look well at all. Gail handed me the phone and the lady from the ambulance service was on the other end asking me to do CPR. I had been CPR trained in my previous job and that training just kicked in. What I did was probably by no means text book but as long as you know the basics and give it a go that’s the main thing.

“Now I’ve done it and have seen the life changing results that came from it, I would encourage everyone to learn CPR. You can make all the difference.”

Graeme said Derek’s actions had been instrumental in his neighbour’s recovery.

“Derek did an absolutely fantastic job,” said Graeme. “If it hadn’t been for that CPR, which oxygenated Colin’s brain, Colin might not have had the outcome he had, being back in his lovely home with his family.

“It’s quite a humbling experience to meet a patient again after you’ve saved their life and to see him having recovered so well is really great.”

“All three of them were marvellous, they were so reassuring,” added Gail. “It’s been lovely to see them again in better circumstances.”

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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