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Carer of man who suffered cardiac arrest on island praises rescue efforts of emergency services

PUBLISHED: 15:44 06 December 2018

The Coastguard assisted the police, fire service and ambulance to rescue Stephen Palmer after he went into cardiac arrest. Picture: Andy Green

The Coastguard assisted the police, fire service and ambulance to rescue Stephen Palmer after he went into cardiac arrest. Picture: Andy Green

Andy Green

A carer has described the incredible efforts made by the Coastguard and emergency services in rescuing a man from an island after his heart stopped working.

Stephen Palmer, 64, was on his boat on the River Yare, in Thorpe St Andrew, when he went into cardiac arrest on Wednesday, December 5.

His carer, Sam Craddock, 38, said it happened suddenly after their usual morning routine at around 9am, of breakfast, cigarette and a finger-prick test to check Mr Palmer’s blood glucose levels.

As well as being diabetic, Mr Palmer has been diagnosed with myeloma cancer, suffers from angina and has suffered heart attacks in the past.

Ms Craddock said she could sense his mood was off that morning and kept a watchful eye on him before he went into his bedroom. 
“He has been stressed, I knew something was wrong with him,” she said. “Then I heard this funny noise.

“I went into the bedroom and saw Stephen, on the bed, his mouth was wide open and I knew something has gone wrong.

“The dog was beside him, crying and licking his face.”

Ms Craddock immediately performed CPR and called for an ambulance. A rescue mission quickly unfolded involving the Coastguard teams from Winterton and Gorleston, police and a fire crew from Earlham.

The rescuers took off the kitchen door of Mr Palmer’s boat in order to swiftly get him off the island and to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

One eyewitness in the area, who did not want to be named, described watching Mr Palmer being “resuscitated a couple of times”.

“It was a cardiac arrest, his heart actually stopped,” Ms Craddock said. “The ambulance said to me if I didn’t give CPR he would’ve been stone cold.

“They thanked me for saving his life and I thanked them for saving him, they did a brilliant service.”

Ms Craddock said Mr Palmer had been placed under an induced coma and was due to be taken off sedation.

Speaking on Thursday afternoon about the ordeal, Ms Craddock said: “I have been sitting in my bed, I couldn’t sleep last night.

“I will tell him I am in the best place, you need to look after yourself.”

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