Patient Colin thanks ambulance team

A Durham grandfather whose life was saved by the swift actions of his wife and staff at North East Ambulance Service has been able to thank his lifesavers personally.

Colin Oxberry, aged 60, suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in Durham earlier this year after returning home from a 10-mile bike ride.

His wife, Annette, immediately called 999 and, with the help of health advisor Melanie Brown, began administering life-saving CPR until the arrival of paramedic Ian Hunwick and clinical care assistant Joanne Metcalf minutes later.

“Luckily we were only a few minutes away from their home when the call was passed to us,” said Ian, who qualified as a paramedic two years ago, having already worked for NEAS for five years.

“When we arrived, Colin was in full cardiac arrest and was making no respiratory effort but Annette had been doing really good CPR, which makes all the difference, and was still on the phone to Mel.”

Together they took over CPR and shocked him twice with a defibrillator before being backed up by paramedic Imogen Newby and clinical care assistant Emily Claridge.

“It was very much a team effort,” added Ian. “It took us a lot to get him back, I think we shocked him 11 or 12 times with a defibrillator in total, but he was very lucky.”

Colin has since made a full recovery and contacted North East Ambulance Service straight away to thank the crew.

“It’s something that came quite out of the blue,” he said. “I’m not what you would call heart attack material – I’ve always done competitive sport, have competed in a few Great North Runs and I’m a regular cycler. Yet one of the main arteries in my heart was blocked. It just shows that it can happen to anyone, I feel very lucky.

“I’ve since found out that only five per cent of people survive this sort of incident. I realise how close I came and you can’t thank the people that saved you enough, it’s a debt you can never repay. They gave me more time with my sons and step daughter and my five grandchildren. These people are literally life savers and the only thing I can do is say thank you.”

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