'I owe you all my life': Husband's thanks to lifesaving paramedics
"They were amazing." The words of Jenny Roberts after ambulance crews saved her husband Mark's life after he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Jenny and Mark Roberts, from Brierley Hill, were staying with friends on a caravan site in Ombersley, in Worcestershire, last November.
During the afternoon, Mark started to feel unwell but then, without warning – he turned grey and passed out. His heart had stopped and he was in cardiac arrest.
Their story was shared as on Wednesday, thousands of people across the Black Country and Staffordshire were trained in CPR during Restart a Heart Day.
Jenny said Milind Kumar Karday, the call handler who answered, was brilliant at keeping her calm and telling her what to do. Two ambulance crews were immediately dispatched while Mark's friends performed CPR, buying him time till crews arrived.
Paramedics John Fryer, Lorraine McHugh, Michelle Adams and Anna Borecha were quickly on the scene – but that was only just the start of the fight to save Mark.
Jenny said: "The only thing Mark complained of was that he felt clammy and had a bit of pain in his arm just before he passed out – there was no warning of chest pains or anything like that.
"So I called 999 straight away. They were amazing, talking me through CPR which I did.
"They keep you very calm. They are very clear on their instructions on what to do and how to react.
"Two teams came and took over in the smallest of places they could work in. They were amazing, absolutely amazing, but while they were working on Mark they never excluded me once – they told me exactly what they were doing, they made sure I was ok and they were superb to be fair."
Mark said: "It was not in ideal circumstances, they were in a confined space with little or no room to work and to work on me. They did not give up, they kept on and one, and by all means they shocked me five times.
"They got me to hospital as swiftly as they could, where I had surgery and a stent was fitted."
Despite all of the efforts, Mark was not expected to survive – he was placed in a coma and was only given a two per cent chance of survival.
However, on the third day Mark came out of the coma – defying all odds.
When Mark was in hospital the crew checked on him whilst in A&E to make sure that he was ok.
Jenny said: "Even after they had done their duty, they still followed up by coming to visit him to make sure he was ok and make sure that I was ok – which was above and beyond really."
Jenny and Mark got to meet the crews who attended to him at a meeting of the West Midlands Ambulance Service trust board at the end of January – and said it is difficult to put into words just how much it means to meet the people who saved Mark’s life.
Mark said he hadn't considered just how important the work of the ambulance service and all of the emergency services until it happened to him.
Jenny said: "Having the people who saved your husband's life around you, it changes everything – they were superb and they were amazing.
"Everybody should take it on board and take note of it because you never know when you will need it. We are all indestructible – we all think we are never going to need it and then it happens and just that little bit of knowledge could save someone's life.
"The two ambulance crews are amazing and I think we all need to appreciate what they do day-to-day a little bit more."
Mark added: "I don't remember any of them in the hospital – when I came through ICU John in particular, the male member of the crew, came to find me because he couldn't believe I was still alive.
"And by all accounts he spent 25 to 30 minutes talking to me, but I don't remember any of that, I wish did, but I don't.
"So now I have met them all for the first time – although I feel there's some connection they are complete strangers to me – but they are responsible for saving my life.
"So to be able to say thank you to them personally and meet them properly, it means everything."
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