IT’S the ultimate gift anyone could ever give – to save someone’s life.
And that’s exactly what happened to Stephen Wickham when he had a cardiac arrest and stopped breathing for 20 minutes.
Neighbour Garry Hattersley was called to help and dashed across the road to perform vital CPR and bring the 55-year-old back to life.
Now, speaking from his hospital bed, Stephen, of Finchdean Road in Havant, said he can never repay him for what he’s done.
‘I couldn’t believe it. You can’t put words to it really,’ he said.
‘Garry’s a wonderful bloke. When someone saves your life, there are no words to say thank you.’
Stephen was sitting at home on the sofa watching television, when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.
His wife Mandy shouted for help from her sons Ryan and Harry.
Ryan, Stephen’s stepson, began performing CPR while Harry’s girlfriend Lauren called her stepdad Garry, who lives across the road.
The 46-year-old, who is fully-trained in CPR after years as a firefighter, said: ‘I went into the front room where Steve was lying flat on the floor not breathing. It was a chaotic scene.’
Garry gave Stephen CPR for around 15 minutes, getting him breathing again, before the paramedics arrived with a defibrillator.
‘The training was invaluable. They should train it in schools. Everybody should know CPR,’ Garry said.
‘The training is the important thing. I’ve done it before so I knew what to do and how hard to push.
‘It’s the minutes before the ambulance gets there that are most important. You need to manage the airways.
‘But I’ve never done it before on somebody who was “dead” when I turned up.
‘I’m so pleased that he has made it through. Not only for Steve but for the family because they were in bits.
‘I don’t think Steve realises how much he means to them. They absolutely adore him.’
Stephen added: ‘I’m absolutely over the moon. Words can’t express it.’
He was put in a medically-induced coma and was woken two days later.
He has since had a pacemaker fitted to monitor his heartbeat.
Mandy, 49, said: ‘It’s absolutely amazing. I think all children in schools should know CPR.
‘If I had been on my own, Stephen wouldn’t be here. I would never have known what to do.’
Learning CPR is vital, says British Heart Foundation
GARRY’S actions have been praised by a heart charity.
Julie Ward, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘It’s wonderful to hear that Steven is alive today because of the quick-thinking actions of his neighbour.
‘When someone has a cardiac arrest, every minute counts. Early intervention with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can mean the difference between life and death.
‘That’s why the British Heart Foundation wants to create a Nation of Lifesavers by making sure everyone knows how to perform lifesaving CPR in an emergency.’
To find out more about how to give CPR, please visit bhf.org.uk.