Suffolk: Cardiac arrest victim meets the medics who saved his life

John Benson suffered cardiac arrest in the car park at Oulton Medical centre. Staff rushed to the sc

John Benson suffered cardiac arrest in the car park at Oulton Medical centre. Staff rushed to the scene and saved his life. Mr Benson with the team that helped save his life, Barbara Oldham, Sarah Simpson, Dr Kausar Kharn and Walter Lloyd-Smith. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

IT was a visit to his GP surgery that John Benson was only too glad to make.

For as Mr Benson entered the Oulton Medical Centre he was met by the team of health workers who saved his life there last month.

On April 10 Mr Benson, 76, collapsed in the centre’s car park after suffering a life-threatening cardiac arrest.

It was only due to the quick actions of the centre’s staff and a visiting health worker that Mr Benson’s life was saved as they used CPR and a defibrillator to get his heart beating again.

And after recovering from his heart attack, Mr Benson made an emotional first return to the centre yesterday to thank those who saved him.

They were Walter Lloyd-Smith, the visiting East Coast Community Healthcare worker who gave him CPR after seeing him collapse in the car park, and the centre’s Dr Kausar Khan, who used the Meadow Road site’s defibrillator to shock his heart back into action and get him to hospital, with the vital help of practice nurse Barbara Oldham, community matron Sarah Simpson and receptionist Jackie Burlingham.

Mr Benson, who has lived in Oulton for 20 years, said: “I am very grateful to them all. I was very lucky they had training in CPR and using the defibrillator.

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“I was as good as dead but I was in the right place at the right time – I think I was very lucky.

“I am better now, much better than I should be – it’s unbelievable. I am suffering a little pain from the CPR, but that’s something I can look on and say ‘I am lucky to be able to feel that’. Mr Benson had gone to the medical centre to pick up a prescription and to speak to a GP about what he thought was heartburn – but in fact it turned out to be the early stages of his cardiac arrest.

After his heart was revived, he was rushed to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where he had two stents put in.

Mr Benson also wanted to thank the hospital staff, the ambulance crew and his neighbours for the aid and help he received.

Dr Kahn and Mr Lloyd-Smith both said Mr Benson’s cardiac arrest showed the importance of having first aid training and defibrillators – especially as irreversible brain damage can happen after six minutes of the heart stopping beating.

Mr Lloyd-Smith said: “I knew it was important to intervene quickly and with no hesitation. I’ve been trained in CPR, but I never had to do it in real life until then.”

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