A pensioner is searching for the passer-by who saved his life after he collapsed in the street from a heart attack.
Malcolm Robinson has already tracked down one Good Samaritan, who provided CPR when he suffered cardiac arrest so severe his chances of survival were later revealed as no more than ten per cent.
In a stroke of luck even greater than Lottery odds, Judy Lewis, from Aldridge, a former nurse at London’s National Heart Hospital, was present when the 69-year-old battled death in Digbeth.
A young man who assisted Judy during the emergency on Easter Saturday, April 15, 2017, has yet to be identified.
The narrow escape has inspired Malcolm, from Sutton Coldfield, to set up CPR Counts, an organisation that provides courses in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Through its work, the retired physiotherapist hopes many others will be saved.
Recollections of his fight for life are vague, but a text message to wife Ann, who planned to meet him in Birmingham, is a constant reminder.
“Don’t get bus to town,” Malcolm told her. “I am coming home. Will tell why when I see you.”
By that time, Ann was already on the bus and, concerned, rang her husband.
“I told her I had an ache in my chest and was feeling very cold and thought I should abandon the walk,” Malcolm recalls. “By the time Ann reached me in the city centre I was feeling much better and decided to carry on as planned.”
The heart attack struck minutes later.
Judy immediately took control of the situation
“I suddenly keeled over on to my right side on the pavement,” says Malcolm, who teaches a Tai Chi linked exercise known as Chi Kung. “Ann thought I had tripped, but soon realised I wasn’t responding.
“The fact that my tongue was lolling out to one side caused further alarm.
By now a group of onlookers had gathered to witness the scene. One had phoned for an ambulance but no one was offering further assistance.
“Then suddenly Judy was there. Ann was trying to rouse me by shaking my shoulders and Judy said, ‘Don’t do that, he’s had a cardiac arrest’,
“Judy immediately took control of the situation, got me on to my back and started CPR and closed my fixed-open eyes to prevent burst blood vessels.
“Another bystander, still untraced, offered to help.
“Between them, they kept my circulation and breathing going for the 20 minutes it took for an ambulance to appear.
“The ambulance crew wasted no time in stripping me nearly bare by using scissors to completely destroy my jacket, jumper, shirt and trousers.
“They punched a hole into my left shin to insert some sort of line for injecting something into me and kept me alive until I got to hospital. They also used a defibrillator on me three times.
“Judy had left her coat over me before departing, leaving the paramedics to carry on with my resuscitation.”
Malcolm is aware of the debt he owes Judy. If not for her, he would be dead.
She visited him in City Hospital, but all attempts to locate her first aid assistant have hit a brick wall.
Malcolm wants to find the mystery man
“Without Judy’s presence on day one, and knowing that no one else at the scene was making any efforts, or had the knowledge, to resuscitate me, I would not be alive,” says Malcolm. “It’s as simple as that.
“We have now learned that the chances of Judy being there at all were very slim, but how come she was the right person at the right time, considering that a moment earlier she would have passed by and not seen me in trouble?”
All attempts to locate her first aid assistant have so far been in vain. Malcolm’s children have tried, and failed, to find him through Facebook. The family’s last hope now rests with the Sunday Mercury.
Malcolm wants the mystery man, along with Judy and medics who treated him , at his 70th birthday party on December 8.
“I know nothing about him,” says Malcolm. “He came over and had some first aid training.
“He said if Judy told him what to do, he would help her. My wife thinks he was in his early 30s, but that’s a complete guess.”
Now Malcolm, who underwent a triple bypass last August, wants others to have the same CPR knowledge as Judy. His first CPR Counts training session, staged at Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield, attracted 37 people.
Passing on the knowledge was Mike Bennett, lead resuscitation officer for Birmingham Community Health Care NHS Trust .
“I started feeling the need to give something back by improving other victims’ chances of survival,” says Malcolm.
“Don’t imagine, like me, that it couldn’t happen to you either. I had had no previous symptoms whatsoever, I was very fit and I was on a very heart-friendly diet.
“Cardiac arrests can hit anyone of any age at any time, hence the need for bystanders who know the life-saving drill.”
* For more information on CPR Counts, go to cprcounts.wordpress.com
Watch our video below to find out the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest
‘Miracle’ that heart nurse was on hand
The fact that a nurse trained in tackling cardiac arrest was present when the attack struck has been described as near miraculous by Malcolm. The odds were stacked against it happening.
“Judy hadn’t been feeling very well during the preceding week and was due to go to St Albans to visit her mother on the day,” he says.
“Instead, her daughter offered to go to see her grandmother by coach .
“The coach station is in Digbeth. Judy had taken her into Birmingham by car – she does this fairly frequently and always chooses to use the same car park – but on this day she parked in a car park which she never uses.
“On leaving to drive home, on a route which, again, she never uses, she approached a crossroads and noticed a gathering of people near one corner. Through a small gap in the crowd she saw two legs sticking out from behind a low wall.
“This was me flat out on the ground.
“After the ambulance crew took over, Judy put her coat over me and left the scene to drive home. At this point no one knew who she was, except that she had told Ann her name.
“While she was driving she suddenly thought that she might have left her house key in her coat, so she turned round and drove back to the scene.
“By this time the ambulance had departed, with Ann in the front seat alongside the driver, but some police were still there clearing up the remains of tubes, fluid dispensers and dressings.
“At the A&E department she caught sight of one of the policemen who had been at the scene and asked if he wouldn’t mind seeing if her coat was there. He invited her in but she declined, saying she didn’t want to intrude on the family’s privacy.
I was now in the critical care ward
“The coat couldn’t be found but it later turned up in the bag with my shredded garments. Judy later found that her key wasn’t in her coat anyway.
“At this point none of my family knew any more about Judy than her first name, or the identity of the young man who had volunteered to assist with the CPR.
“Judy, however, could not get me out of her mind over the next few days, which I find quite flattering.
“She eventually telephoned the hospital A&E to see if she could find out if I had survived.
“All she knew was my first name and the date of my admission. The nurse she spoke to said that she, too, would not be able to rest without knowing what had happened. She told Judy that I was now in the critical care ward and was put through to there.
“When she identified herself, the person who answered knew that my family had been trying to trace her and so the connection was eventually made.
“Judy came to visit me on my fifth day in hospital, but I have no memory of this and certainly would not have been able to pick her out in an identity parade.
“This is why it was so good to meet her when she came to our house for lunch on May 18 when we had a good three-hour chinwag.
“This is when I learned the full story of that first day and when I came to the realisation of how incredibly lucky I had been and how almost spooky it was.”
* If you are the man who helped save Malcolm’s life, please contact Mike Lockley on 0121 234 5553 or by email at [email protected]
Source : BirminghamMail