Firefighter lucky to be alive after suffering a third cardiac arrest in a matter of weeks

Firefighter lucky to be alive after suffering a third cardiac arrest in a matter of weeks

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From left to right: Technician Alan Higgs, Carl Turner, Sonia Turner and Technician Paul Haigh

A Lincolnshire firefighter who suffered three cardiac arrests in a matter of weeks has been reunited with the ambulance crew who helped to save his life.

Carl Turner, 61, from Cleethorpes, went into his kitchen to make a cup of tea on the morning of 16 November, last year, but collapsed to the floor and his lips went blue.

Carl’s wife Sonia walked into the kitchen to find Carl slumped on the floor. She immediately phoned 999 and started chest compressions to save her husband’s life.

Carl said: “My wife is trauma trained and so knew how to do CPR. When she found me on the floor she knew that every second counted.

“Sonia is a receptionist at a doctor’s surgery and CPR is a part of her mandatory on-going training.

“Knowing how to perform CPR on someone is the best skill ever and it saved my life!”

He had suffered his first cardiac arrest just weeks earlier while he was in a lift in a hotel in Greece. He then suffered a second cardiac arrest moments later while he was being airlifted to hospital in the air ambulance.

In the UK, the survival rate for a cardiac arrest is low. Less than 10% of patients experiencing a cardiac arrest will survive to be discharged from hospital, so for Carl to survive three is nothing short of a miracle.

Carl's wife, Sonia, said: "You never know when somebody could all of sudden go into a cardiac arrest and I cannot stress enough the importance of learning how to perform CPR.

"Even watching a quick video on the internet could educate someone to become a lifesaver in the same situation we found ourselves in as a family.

"Our son had no knowledge of how to do CPR when he walked in to the situation and I gave him some very quick training on how to do chest compressions and he carried on until the ambulance crew arrived."

If CPR is administered on a patient within the first three to four minutes of them going into cardiac arrest, they have a greater chance of survival.

EMAS Technician, Alan Higgs said: "Carl was given a good fighting chance because CPR was initially administered by Sonia in those first few minutes.

"When we took over we were able to monitor him up and found he was in a shockable rhythm and were able to 'shock him' with the defibrillator.

"It took us three attempts but we managed to get him in a stable condition to transport him to the cardiac specialists at hospital." 

Carl was transported to Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, where he remained for 14 weeks while he recovered.

He will be returning to light duties with Humberside Fire and Rescue in September and is looking forward to regaining some form of normality. 

Speaking about meeting the ambulance crew again, Carl said: “In my job as a firefighter I have saved hundreds of lives and have walked away from these callouts without any further update of how or if they recovered or survived.

"It was nice to say thank you to Paul and Alan for what they did for me on that day and to update them on my current health. I really cannot fault the NHS one bit!"