Norfolk teacher saved parent’s life
A Norfolk mum has spoken about how a teacher at her youngest child's school helped to save her life.
Janyne Durrant-Pratt, who collapsed as she went to pick up her eight-year-old daughter Lucie, described teacher David Board as one of her heroes – and both of them said what happened highlights the importance of having defibrillators in public places and of people learning basic lifesaving skills.
Her family – which also includes her husband Martin and their eldest daughter Sophie, 14 – live next door to Frettenham Primary Partnership School, and on November 10 last year before she could reach the school gates Mrs Durrant-Pratt suffered a cardiac arrest.
Everyone rallied around to help her. Parent Bill Sainsbury started CPR before Mr Board took over and in the vital minutes before an ambulance arrived used the school's defibrillator to shock Mrs Durrant-Pratt, 39, and help her heart's rhythm return to normal. Mrs Durrant-Pratt spent three weeks in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and is still recovering. She is deeply grateful to Mr Board and everybody who helped her.
She said: 'I am very thankful to each and every person who was there. If it had not been for them and the school's defibrillator who knows what would have happened.
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'David has always been on a pedestal as far as being a teacher goes because he has a fantastic ability with the children. What he did on November 10 proved to me that he really is a hero. David will always be someone that is very special to me. I cannot thank him enough for what he did for me.'
She added: 'Judith (the school's headteacher Judith Elliott-Hunter) and I now want to fundraise for a special box to keep the defibrillator outside so it is available for the whole community to use. I would also like to see every school have a defibrillator.'
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Frettenham Primary and its partner school in Hainford both bought defibrillators a few years ago. All the teachers and support staff are trained to use them and the teachers are trained to teach pupils the child's version of the British Heart Foundation's basic lifesaving skills programme Heartstart.
Mr Board said: 'I am just an ordinary person who has had the correct training so if I can do it other people can too.
'All schools should have defibrillators because they could mean the difference between life and death.'
He stressed lots of people helped after Mrs Durrant-Pratt collapsed.
Due to a history of heart problems, Mrs Durrant-Pratt now has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator fitted to monitor her heart rhythm. In 2002, while pregnant with Lucie, she had two heart attacks. At 29 weeks pregnant doctors had to fit a stent to improve her blood flow and Lucie was delivered by caesarian section weighing just 2lb and 15oz.
Mrs Durrant-Pratt was diagnosed with left ventricular failure – meaning her heart does not pump effectively on the left and leaves her without much energy. In the future she may have to have a heart transplant.
Kenny Harkin-Perry, community resuscitation officer for the East of England Ambulance Service, said: 'Bill started the CPR process until David took over with the defibrillator and we can't commend their actions highly enough in saving the life of Janyne.
'Only two weeks before this incident I gave a refresher course in CPR and use of the automated external defibrillator (AED) to Frettenham Primary School.'
Frettenham Primary is holding a special assembly of thanks for Mrs Durrant-Pratt's recovery at St Swithin Church on February 17 at 10am.
To donate funds for outside boxes for Frettenham and Hainford Primary's defibrillators call 01603 737405 or 01603 898359.
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