Sunderland man saved by his fiancee champions CPR skills as he is reunited with ambulance crew who treated him
A Sunderland man who survived a cardiac arrest is urging others to learn how to do life-saving CPR after he was reunited with the ambulance team who helped save him.
Lee Stephenson then 31, from Grangetown, suffered a cardiac arrest at home in March 2020, not believing the chest pains he had been experiencing could be a heart attack.
His fiancee, Amy Donalson, 28, dialled 999 and put her first aid skills into practice, working to save Lee’s life with the help of 999 health advisor Bradley Sanderson while an ambulance crew was dispatched.
Lee is now recovering well, and the pair are preparing for their June wedding.
A reunion with the North East Ambulance staff sent to the incident also gave the service a chance to thank the couple for raising more than £2,000 to help its Charitable Fund to install a life-saving defibrillator in Grangetown.
“That night was the worst of my life,” said Amy.
“I thought I had lost him.
“Without Bradley’s amazing help talking me through CPR and the fast response of the paramedic team, I have no doubt that Lee wouldn’t be with me today.”
Bradley said: “Taking a CPR call is one of the calls no one likes to receive, as at that moment in time the other person on the phone is going through the worst moment of their life.
"It was great to see Lee doing so well.
“Amy should be pleased with how well she managed that night due to her early recognition and effective CPR.”
Lee has become passionate about raising awareness of cardiac arrests and their symptoms.
“When you look at the survival rate, I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been,” said Lee, who has since had three stents fitted.
"I’m still not back up to full fitness but I’ve just been taking it one day at a time and everyone has been amazed by how far I’ve come.
"I’m young and was relatively fit – I’m proof that this can happen to anyone.”
Andrew Wood, a clinical care assistant who was among those called to help Lee, added: “If more people felt confident and comfortable doing CPR, the survival rates would improve massively.”
To learn CPR visit www.resus.org.uk/watch and to find out more about community defibrillators see www.neas.nhs.uk/our-services/community-defibrillators.