But Hester Holman has been able to say thank you to the King’s Lynn ambulance crew that rushed to her home in January.
The 47-year-old collapsed in her home during a cardiac arrest.
Hester woke up at her home in Weasenham with what she thought was severe acid reflux.
Her partner, Jim Harper, went to get the heartburn relief she often used, but before Hester could even lift it to her mouth she collapsed.
Jim immediately dialled 999, putting his phone on loud speaker and began CPR.
Paramedic Gary Smith and student paramedic Jonathon Hall were the first to arrive, with Jonathon taking over CPR until a Lund University Cardiopulmonary Assist System (LUCAS) machine arrived with Carl Smith, critical care paramedic and Tony Chisam, leading operations manager.
The machine replicates chest compressions and allowed the team to continue to treat Hester.
Also on the scene were paramedics Gemma Proudfoot and Dave O’Callaghan.
During their meeting, Gary described the challenges they faced to Hester, who didn’t have any memory of the event herself.
“We got the first pulse back at 4.32am, but then we noticed another abnormal rhythm with her heart.
We got that back to normal, and then her blood pressure was elevated.”
Although the crews arrived, they made it clear that without Jim’s early CPR the outcome could have been very different.
“Early CPR and early defibrillation is key.
It’s very rare we get to meet with patients after these calls.
The chance of survival for cardiac arrests in the UK is less than 10%, so it’s really great to be here today meeting with Hester and her family.”
Hester also found out she went on to have a second cardiac arrest before being transported to the nearest heart attack centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where a team was waiting for her arrival.
“You’re absolutely brilliant, I can’t thank you all enough.”
Early CPR and defibrillation is key to give us and you the best chance of survival in cases such as Hester’s.
Keep an eye out for a special video from the EEAST that will go through the basics of CPR, so we all know what to do in an emergency.