Woodbridge woman hailed as 'CPR Hero' after saving husband's life with chest compressions

A woman from Woodbridge saved her husband's life when she initiated CPR after he suffered cardiac arrest

A woman from Woodbridge saved her husband's life when she initiated CPR after he suffered cardiac arrest - Credit: Bernie and David Cleland

A Woodbridge woman who saved her husband's life after he had a cardiac arrest urged people to learn CPR as she collected a prestigious award.

Bernie Cleland, 55, has been hailed as a 'CPR Hero' by the British Heart Foundation after she started CPR on her husband Dave at their home in February this year — saving his life.  

The mother of one said her husband, Dave, was in their en-suite bathroom when she heard a yelp followed by a thud. 

"I called out to Dave but didn’t get an answer, so I ran upstairs and found him unresponsive and face down on the floor," Mrs Cleland said. 

"That’s when I knew it was really serious, and that I had to try CPR and do everything I could to save Dave’s life.”

In a stroke of luck, Mrs Cleland had been on a first aid refresher training course the day before her husband collapsed, and she was able to quickly put her skills into practice. 

Mrs Cleland instantly rang 999 and then, with the guidance of the call handler, began chest compressions. 

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She continued CPR for seven minutes until ambulance crews arrived and took over. They used a defibrillator to restart Mr Cleland's heart. 

He was later airlifted to the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. 

After 24 hours in hospital, Mr Cleland regained consciousness and was able to make a phone call to his wife.

He was then discharged six days later.

Mrs Cleland said: “He had been told what I had done, and he said thank you.

"It was at that point when it hit me about what had happened.”

The week before Mr Cleland suffered the cardiac arrest he was admitted to the same hospital after experiencing a heart attack, where he was fitted with a stent to help improve the blood flow to his heart. 

Picking up her award on Wednesday, September 29, Mrs Cleland said: "When Dave had his cardiac arrest, I just did what I thought anyone else would do in that situation.

“I would encourage everyone to learn CPR – you just never know when you might need to help save someone’s life.”

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