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Ipswich woman urges everyone to learn CPR after perfoming life-saving first aid on her husband

12:00 19 March 2016

Jonathan Jenkyn

Jonathan Jenkyn

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When Sacha Jenkyn woke to find her husband suffering a cardiac arrest in bed next to her, she was terrified. But she jumped into action and performed CPR, brining husband Jonathan back to life.

Jonathan Jenkyn with his wife, SachaJonathan Jenkyn with his wife, Sacha

Now she is urging more people to be confident in using CPR with the warning: “If you don’t do anything then you lose, and you lose badly”.

Mrs Jenkyn was awoken by her her husband’s fidgeting and heavy breathing and, thinking he was having a nightmare, tried to stir him awake. In fact, Mr Jenkins, 39 and a father-of-five, was having a cardiac arrest and his breathing was beginning to slow.

“I was extremely scared but I knew that I had to so something rather than nothing,” she said. “You are like two people. There’s somebody inside you who is screaming, vulnerable like a child, and there’s another person who takes control. I put that person in charge.”

With the help of their youngest son, she got Jonathan on to the floor, called for an ambulance and performed CPR, having learnt the skill to pass her driving test in Switzerland – where she grew up - almost 30 years ago.

It was this action that brought Jonathan back to life; however paramedics had to revive him again because his condition worsened before they had arrived at the couple’s home, in Norwich Road, Ipswich.

Jonathan spent three days in Ipswich Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) following the incident. He was then transferred to Claydon ward for seven days before a further spell with heart specialists at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge. There he was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, a device inserted under the skin near his shoulder which is primed to shock his heart back into action should it stop again.

Mr Jenkyn said: “The prognosis was that I wouldn’t make it. They said that there was a significant chance that I had a brain injury so significant that I probably would be revived. Friends and family all came and said goodbye.

“I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs, I don’t smoke, I’m generally quite a fit guy and they didn’t find anything. There’s no cause.

“Everything was coming back saying everything looks perfect. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why it would have happened.”

Figures provided by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) show that only one in 10 people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Mr Jenkyn has since been told that only 5% of survivors will go on to live without any brain damage.

The family is now calling on more people not only to learn CPR, to be confident in using it should an emergency situation arise.

“Try to remember that if you don’t do anything then you lose, and you lose badly,” she said. “The person dies or can be brain damaged and you lose everything.

“Lots of people are scared of breaking bones. The damage you will do is nothing compared to what’s already happening.

“You can be scared and you can cry later, but you will regret not stepping in and doing anything.

“What I did was not extraordinary. It’s just human to step in.

“You don’t need courage you just need to think of the consequences. Once you realise that you just do what you have to do.”

Mr Jenkyn has organised a sponsored relay race to bring in funds for the BHF whilst also raising awareness of CPR.

“Of all those people that don’t survive I think I owe it to them to make sure that within the UK, and certainly within Suffolk, people get trained in CPR,” he said. “So many people don’t want to do it because they are scared of hurting someone or wanting to do it wrong. The person you are helping is dying. Every three seconds that you wait is another chance that they are losing.

“Even if you are doing it wrong, do something, because by just standing by you are letting someone die.”

The relay race, from Cambridge to Ipswich Hospital on 3 April, will be a 58-mile route divided into 10 stages.

To find out how to join the run, or to sponsor participants, visit Hard and Fast Relay page on Facebook.

1 comment

  • I have always felt that basic first aid skills should be a vital part of the school curriculum and that everyone should leave school in yr.11 holding a current first aid certificate. There is surely nothing more scary than being confronted with a medical emergency and not knowing what to do before the paramedics arrive.

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