Special commendations after woman’s life saved

The husband and son of a doctor's receptionist whose heart flatlined after a cardiac arrest have received a special commendation for saving her life with the help of a 999 call handler.

Debbie Peters, who thought she had been suffering trapped wind for four days, collapsed in bed at her home in Gooderstone, near Swaffham, in the early hours on Monday, January 23.

Her husband Doug, a former police officer, and son Craig, a stockman, had previously learned CPR, and performed 600 heart compressions during their eight-minute battle to save the 52 year old, with phone guidance from Rachel Coverdale.

Ambulance crew Chris White and Malcolm Kemp let Craig continue his '100 per cent spot on' performance while they moved the bedroom furniture to make room for their equipment.

They treated Mrs Peters using a defibrilator and an adrenalin injection for 30mins, before taking her to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, while paramedic Darren Sullivan liaised with the family.

Her husband, 55, who delivers medicines for Universal Pharmacy in Swaffham, said: 'Once you have pushed the panic out of the way, you start to go through the motions - it's not so bad, but it's getting yourself organised, and of course Rachel was there to guide us through it.'

Craig, 29, said: 'Most of it was following instinct and keeping calm. We both knew what to do, but had not done it before, and just needed reassurance you are doing it for real.'

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Mrs Peters said her father suffered a heart attack aged 52, while her great nan and her mother both died of similar complaints at a similar age.

Paramedics said Mrs Peters would have died without her family's efforts, and had better odds of winning the lottery than surviving the asystole arrest, where all electrical activity in the heart stops.

Mrs Peters said: 'I'm really grateful. Sometimes you can't think about it too much.

'If these two had not saved me I would never have seen [daughter Samantha's] baby, or Craig's daughter grow up. That's what I think of most of all.'

Speaking before presenting the two men with commendation certificates, paramedic Simon Nunn said: 'The crews did a fantastic job, as did Debbie's husband and son.

'I cannot express the importance enough of early bystander intervention in giving CPR in cases like this to hugely enhance the chances of survival.'

Mrs Peters is due to return to work at Manor Farm Medical Centre in Swaffham next week, where her husband joked she would be safer than staying at home while he was at work.

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