Ipswich: Cabbie whose heart stopped four times thanks paramedics who saved his life

A TAXI driver whose heart stopped FOUR times when he suffered cardiac arrests today heaped praise on the paramedics who saved his life.

Andy Snelling says he is lucky to be alive – and thanked the ambulance heroes who came to his aid by nominating them for a Stars of Suffolk award.

The 35-year-old endured two cardiac arrests earlier this year, which left him in intensive care.

He says doctors told him fewer than one in six people in his condition survive the ordeal.

Mr Snelling, from Cedarcroft Road, has nominated paramedics Andy South and Maggie MacDonald for Ambulance Person(s) of the Year – claiming their quick thinking and professionalism saved him.

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It was at around 8pm on March 2 when Mr Snelling parked his taxi outside the Robert Ransome pub and went to the burger van that he collapsed suddenly.

Mr Snelling, who has a ten-year-old daughter Rhiannon and fiancee Lea, has no recollection of events from that point on but has been told he was resuscitated at the scene.

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Two ambulance response cars arrived and Mr Snelling arrested again.

He was taken to intensive care at Ipswich Hospital and later transferred to Papworth Hospital where he had surgery and was fitted with an Implantable cardioverter defibrillators. Eight months on and Mr Snelling is still recovering at home.

But he says the experience has given him a new lease of life.

“I had never had any serious heart problems before. I have been OK but I am not back to work yet. I’ve been told it was stress-related.

“Mags and Andy were amazing. Without them I would not be here. Apparently my heart stopped four times.

“There is only a 15 per cent chance of people surviving in the same circumstances.

“It has given me a different perspective on life.

“It is nice to say a personal thank you. The paramedics work really hard and every job they go to could save someone’s life.

“It’s opened my mind up to how special the ambulance service is.

“I thought it would be really nice to nominate Andy and Mags for this award because they deserve it.”

The Stars of Suffolk awards recognise members of the community and emergency services for their bravery, kindness or hard work.

Last year more than 300 nominations were received. Winners included Mason Fountain, a seven-year-old battling a brain tumour, in the Young Person of the Year category.

The closing date for nominations is October 19 and the award’s night will take place at Suffolk New College on November 23.

n Do you wish to nominate someone for a special reason and Write to Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

THE hero paramedics who came to Andy Snelling’s rescue today told of their pride at helping him.

Andy South said: “It’s great to see Andy up on his feet again.

“Getting a patient back when the odds are stacked against them is hugely rewarding.”

Maggie Macdonald added: “Andy is a young man with his life ahead of him and a very positive outlook.

“I’m honoured I was able to help him, and make sure his daughter has a dad as she is growing up.”

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