A mum has thanked quick-thinking emergency services staff for saving her life while out shopping on Christmas Eve.
Catherine Maguire, 48, was out with her husband John and their three daughters in the Sainsbury’s store at Durham’s Arnison Centre when she collapsed after suffering a blood clot in her heart and stopped breathing.
Luckily for Catherine, of Framwellgate Moor, Sara Ulph and fellow paramedic Stephen Tate, who was off-duty at the time, and police community support officer Debbie Sadler-Knox, were all close by at the time.
The trio along, with help from Sainsbury’s staff, managed to perform CPR on her while Stephen used a defibrillator to shock her twice and revive her.
After recovering at home alongside John and children Mollieanne, 14, Maisie, 12, and Grace, 10, Catherine made a return to the store to say an emotional thank you those who saved her life.
“I know I’m extremely lucky and I don’t think for one minute that without the actions of the people who helped would I be here,” said Catherine.
“I can’t thank them enough for doing what they did.
“It feels a bit weird being back here because I can’t remember much of what happened or what we had come into the shop for that day.”
She added: “I’m feeling better now and the girls are doing OK.
“I’d bend over backwards now for those who saved me. They were amazing.”
Stephen was out shopping at the time when passers-by asked if someone with medical experience could help, while Sarah was refuelling the ambulance she was driving at the store’s petrol station just a few hundred metres away.
“I did three minutes of CPR on Catherine and she had stopped breathing for two,” said Stephen.
“She had no output at all. Basically, she was dead.
“The fact that the shop has a defibrillator was key because that saved her. If the store didn’t have it, she probably would have died.”
Sarah managed to alert colleagues in the Ambulance Service, who dispatched the Air Ambulance which then flew Catherine to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for treatment.
Sarah said: “The staff had had the defibrillator for a few months and they knew how to use it.
“She’s been very lucky.”
Debbie has since visited the family and says she is stunned at how quickly Catherine has recovered.
“I didn’t recognise her at first but I teared up when I saw her,” she said.
“Her husband and daughters were in a state of shock at the time but the Sainsbury’s staff were amazing.
“It’s great to see Catherine looking well.”