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Buxton heart attack survivor thanks lifesaving medical team

From left, Karl Bexon paramedic, Jessica Bate technican, Wendy Openshaw, Anthony Openshaw, Lesly Dudley 999 call handler and Louise Barlow paramedic were reunited after Anthony had a heart attack in April and he wanted to thank his lifesavers
From left, Karl Bexon paramedic, Jessica Bate technican, Wendy Openshaw, Anthony Openshaw, Lesly Dudley 999 call handler and Louise Barlow paramedic were reunited after Anthony had a heart attack in April and he wanted to thank his lifesavers

A Buxton grandfather whose heart attack was so severe he needed 13 shocks from a defibrillator to save his life has met the ambulance team who came to his rescue.

Anthony Openshaw, of Fernydale Avenue in Harpur Hill, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in April while at home and says he is only alive today because of the quick-thinking actions of his wife Wendy.

The 64-year-old said: “I am a lucky, lucky man and I am only here because my wife stepped up and performed CPR until the paramedics and the air ambulance turned up.

“If she hadn’t been in, or she had frozen at the sight of me collapsed on the kitchen floor, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Anthony, who does not smoke, rarely drinks and had an active lifestyle as a bricklayer, says he did not think he would be at risk of a heart attack.

He said: “This just shows how precious life is and how we can’t take it for granted as you never know what is around the corner.

“I still here, I’m alive and thankfully I’m still able to walk and talk and do most things I did before my heart attack.

“My body died, I spent days in surgery and intensive care and that is a huge physical trauma to go through, so I might be a bit more tired than I was before or a bit slower - but I’m still here.”

Anthony’s heart stopped six times that afternoon, both at his house and at hospital, and he needed 13 shocks with a defibrillator to resuscitate him.

He was airlifted to the Royal Stoke hospital where he spent 19 days and had stents fitted in his heart.

Today (Thursday) he met the team who rescued him, from the call handler who gave his wife instructions on how to perform CPR to the ambulance crew who worked on him for one hour and 20 minutes.

Anthony said: “To have them all here in my home and thank them was very important to me.”

Emergency call handler Lesley Dudley has been answering 999 calls for 15 years but says this is the first time she has ever been reunited with a patient.

She said: “It’s lovely to be invited here and the first time I have ever met someone whose life I have saved.

“When you’re on the call you’re in the moment and your training kicks in, and you are so focused on giving the right advice.

“Because you hang up when the ambulance crew arrives you never get to know what happens next to a patient, and then the next call comes and that takes over your head space, so it has been really nice to put a face to the name and see Anthony looking so well.”

Anthony added: “I really pleased to be able to say thank-you as I know far too many people don’t make it.”