9:30am Thursday 29th May 2014
By Alexandra Womack
A TEENAGER from Yate has paid his heartfelt thanks to the paramedics who helped save his life when he collapsed outside his house.
Football-mad Alex Turner had always been fit and healthy so it came as a huge shock to him and his family when he went into cardiac arrest early one Sunday morning last September.
Eighteen-year-old Alex had just left his home in Littledean, Yate to drive to work at the Hilton Hotel in Bradley Stoke when he collapsed on the pavement outside his home.
His parents Hilary, 45, and Kevin, 47, and siblings Adam, 16, Elicia, 12, and Sophie, 9, were completely unaware of how dangerously ill Alex was just metres away from their garden.
“We were having a lie in,” said Hilary. “I had woken him at 6.30am and he seemed fine then.
“Then I heard my neighbour Carolann Lythe who was just saying you need to come now.”
Carolann had only been up that early on a Sunday as she was returning from taking her husband to work and found Alex in a heap on the ground.
“She turned him over because he was face down and gave him CPR,” said Hilary, a teaching assistant at Raysfield Junior School in Chipping Sodbury.
“Her brother, James Brown, called for an ambulance and they carried on performing CPR while the call handler told them what to do.
“Then the paramedics arrived and were amazing. I was just standing in the road screaming, I had gone into meltdown, and my husband and other children were in shock.
“It was Carolann’s quick thinking and the help of the paramedics which saved Alex’s life. If she hadn’t seen him he wouldn’t be here.”
Alex, who was 17 at the time, told the Gazette: “I can remember putting my clothes on and being in a rush but I can’t remember anything after I left my bedroom.
“The first thing I remember is waking up in hospital and mum and dad coming in.”
The former Yate International Academy student was kept sedated in Frenchay Hospital’s intensive care unit for a week.
“The thought was he could have brain damage,” said him mum. “He was back to being a young boy but he is getting there now. He has had to stop playing football and he has had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted and we have all been tested and will be monitored.
“Life has been difficult at times but we are getting back to normality and are just so grateful to Carolann and the paramedics who helped him. Alex has been inspirational and I want young people in particular to be aware of the risk of cardiac arrest.”
Alex and his mum were reunited with the team who helped him at a South Western Ambulance Service awards ceremony.
Critical care paramedic Mike Page said: “It was amazing to be able to meet Alex and to see how well he is doing, a real honour. It is cases like this that really remind you of the difference we can make to people’s lives in our job.”
Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb, who arranged the meeting and is helping the family raise awareness of Alex’s story, said: “Huge thanks must go both to the paramedics who did such a great job, and also to Alex’s neighbours who were first on the scene and whose prompt action undoubtedly saved Alex’s life.
“It was great to be able to bring the family together with the paramedics who played such a crucial role, and I know everyone was very moved to hear Hilary’s words of appreciation.”
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