A man who gives up his time to help others has thanked the paramedics who saved his life after he suffered 15 cardiac arrests.
Kinder Mountain Rescue Team member Chris Haywood had just returned from a call-out after helping a hiker with a broken ankle, and thought the pain he was suffering in his chest was from indigestion.
But it became more severe, and being first aid trained he knew he was having a heart attack and immediately called 999.
Chris, 58, from Sparrowpit, said he owed his life to the quick-thinking actions of the paramedics who responded and saved his life.
“I now have two birthdays, the second one is the day when they gave me my life back,” he said.
After the first response car arrived with a defibrillator and ECG heart monitoring machine, the paramedic requested emergency back-up.
The nearest available ambulance was 30 miles away in Chesterfield, where paramedics Jack Sutherland and Ellie Parson were ten hours into a 12-hour shift and were heading back to the station for their first break.
Jack said: “I would never have been able to live with myself knowing someone needed my help and I was having a sandwich.” Chris’s wife Dawn said: “He was sweating and telling me he was having a heart attack and I couldn’t really believe it.” Once in the ambulance, Chris complained about feeling dizzy and the paramedics noticed he had slipped into cardiac arrest - this is where the heart stops beating and just flutters instead.
He suffered six cardiac arrests in the ambulance. Jack said: “Time is tissue and the longer a person is starved of oxygen the more damage is done.
“Luckily we were able to keep shocking Chris and allowing the heart to find its natural rhythm.” While moving Chris from the ambulance to the operating theatre at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester he suffered a further nine cardiac arrests.
Jack said: “He even had one in the lift and we managed to get his heart going again before the lift stopped and opened the doors.
“I have been a paramedic for seven years and this is only the second case where we have shocked a patient and they have walked out of the hospital.”
Stephen Harrison was the first responder on the scene and said this was the first time in 34 years he had met with a patient again. Chris, a woodwork lecturer at Buxton and Leek College, has been off work since his cardiac arrests on January 2 and has three stents fitted in his heart. He is now back walking three miles a day to build up his strength.
He added: “Being a mountain rescue volunteer you help people out, but are always left wondering what happened to people and I didn’t want that to be the case for the paramedics.
“I needed to see them and needed to thank them because I owe them my life.”