A BROMSGROVE woman saved a work colleague's life thanks to CPR she learned at her local St John Ambulance unit in the town.

Flora Streeter, 22, performed the lifesaving technique after Simon Lea, 62, fell ill one lunchtime in late October at the London office of accounting firm Aqilla where they both work.

Former South Bromsgrove High School pupil Flora, a St John Ambulance volunteer since the age of 13, spotted Simon was looking poorly as he returned to his desk with a coffee.

 

“I could see Simon was looking very pale, which was odd as he’d just come back from holiday," said digital marketing executive Flora.

"I went over and found he was very sweaty, so I asked him if he was feeling okay.

"He said he was feeling very weird and had chest pain; knowing he’d had a heart attack several years ago, I explained I was going to call an ambulance for him.”

Within minutes, London Ambulance Service paramedics and a first responder arrived, running checks that confirmed Simon was having a heart attack.

His condition was stable, so Simon was taken on a chair down to the ground floor but then he suddenly went into cardiac arrest.

Flora, who volunteers at St John’s Leytonstone Unit but started with St John at her local unit in Bromsgrove, recalled: “I started the first round of CPR and the LAS responder used the defibrillator to shock his heart back into a rhythm.

"I was halfway through the second round of CPR when Simon came around.”

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Simon was taken to St Thomas’ Hospital where, within ten minutes, he was having a stent fitted for a blocked artery, and the next day he welcomed Flora as she visited him in hospital.

Simon said: “I consider myself to be very lucky. If this had happened the week before I would have been in the middle of a 200km bike ride in Cuba in the middle of nowhere.

"I was very fortunate to be where I was when this happened, and to have Flora there to recognise I was having a heart attack and dial 999 immediately, and then to help save my life along with the amazing LAS team.

"They, along with all the doctors and nurses at St Thomas’ were incredible and I’m extremely grateful for everything they’ve done for me.”

Last week, Simon returned to the office on the eighth floor of Capital Tower, just over two weeks since his cardiac arrest.

He presented Flora with a cake and a donation to St John Ambulance to thank her for everything she did for him that day.

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Flora added: “It’s wonderful to see Simon looking so well and to have him back at work.

"The training St John Ambulance has given me meant I was well prepared to help and kept calm when I realised he was having a heart attack.

"I just went into autopilot, giving instructions to my colleagues and calling an ambulance straight away.

"I’ve never had to give CPR before, but I knew what I had to do. First aid training gives you the skills and confidence to do the right thing when it matters.”

Currently, fewer than one in ten people in the UK survives a cardiac arrest out of hospital. 

Chances of survival double when someone gives immediate CPR and significantly increases further when a defibrillator is used.

For more information on St John Ambulance, including how to make a donation, volunteering opportunities, and details of training, visit www.sja.org.uk

Dr Lynn Thomas, St John Ambulance Medical Director, said: “Well done to Flora and we’re delighted to hear Simon has recovered so well.

"We hope this story inspires a community response to cardiac arrest emergencies.

"It is vital that as many people as possible learn how to deliver CPR and use a defibrillator because of the unpredictable nature of cardiac arrests."