I called 999 when my husband got indigestion and it saved his life

A DINNER out with friends in London sounds like a perfect evening, but for one man it ended in a frightening hospital visit.

Banker Paul Smith had enjoyed a night at a steak house with an old friend when he started to suffer with chest pains and indigestion.

The 63-year-old got off the train after the meal and was greeted by his wife Sahika at the train station, just five minutes away from their home.

Sahika had driven to give Paul a lift home, but said she knew something was wrong with him so attempted to call 999.

But Paul tried to stop her twice from calling the ambulance.

She said: "I ignored him. He was too important for me not too."

Paul has no recollection from the incident, which occurred on February 12, 2019, but Sahika said she knew it was going to be a long night when she saw her husband crying in pain.

"He was a 61-year-old man reduced to tears by the pain he was in", she said.

Most read in Health


Boris' baby daughter Romy was 'badly ill' from COVID during last week's crisis


Full list of 20 Omicron symptoms has CHANGED – the signs you must not ignore


Omicron IS in retreat and we will live with it like flu, says Sajid Javid


I'm a doc & here's how your partner’s stinky farts can be dangerous to your health

After calling the ambulance, paramedics arrived at their home within minutes and carried out multiple procedures, including an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check his heart's rhythm, but found nothing wrong.

But, as they prepared to get him into the ambulance for further checks at University Hospital Lewisham, he collapsed and they sprang into action, performing life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – applying chest compressions to manually preserve the brain function.

Sahika had been too distraught to watch and was convinced that her partner had died.

She said: "They started performing CPR so I went to the kitchen. I thought he was dead and I didn’t know what to do.

"After 10 minutes I was going in and out.
​​​​​He had gone purple and there was no sign of breathing.

"The paramedics were all so calm and professional, they were fantastic. They never gave up on him.

"When I heard Paul was back I was overjoyed. It felt like a miracle."

Paul, a dad-of-three was found to be one of only ten people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests to survive in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation.

Sahika, originally from Turkey said that she had never seen anyone have a heart attack before, but said that she knew what was going on was serious.

She said: "We were so lucky the ambulance  arrived so quickly.

"The paramedic who performed CPR said she had only just completed her training and Paul was her first cardiac arrest."

He was pale, and strange looking. I could tell when they were trying to wake him up that it was not positive

He was rushed to University Hospital Lewisham in the early hours of February 13 after his heart restarted.

Paul was then placed in a medically induced coma in intensive care, to stabilise his heart and find out what was wrong.

At that point, doctors were unable to tell Sahika how long Paul would remain in a coma.

She added: "I spent the whole time crying.

"They tried to wake Paul up again, but he wasn’t responding to anyone. He was like a zombie.

"He was pale, and strange looking. I could tell when they were trying to wake him up that it was not positive.

"A doctor was so kind. He told me they would try to wake Paul up every day and that he would wake up.

"I was going every single day. I thought he’d be in a coma for a long time and I thought I’d lost him again."

What is a cardiopulmonary arrest?

A cardiac arrest, also known as cardiopulmonary arrest, happens when your heart suddenly stops pumping blood around your body.

Someone who has had a cardiac arrest will collapse unconscious.

Their breathing will be irregular and may stop, and they will be unresponsive.

When a cardiac arrest happens there is no time to lose, it is a life-threatening emergency, and calling an ambulance is vital.

While waiting for an ambulance performing CPR can help keep a person alive.

To perform CPR:

  • Perform chest compression – pumping the heart from outside the body to keep blood flowing until the ambulance arrives
  • Rescue breathing – mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to inflate the lungs

On the second day of Paul being in hospital, Sahika noticed him smile and felt a glimmer of hope.

"When I went in and said, ' Paul, darling,' he started to smile. It was like he was following my voice.

"I thought he was going to come back to me, even if they were unable to wake him up", she said.

Then on February 15, Paul woke up, and his first words to Sahika were 'will you marry me'.

She said: "I said, 'Let’s do it now in the hospital.'

"We were going to be together through thick and thin. I knew he couldn’t live without me. He proved it that day!"

The couple married in January 2020 at the register office in Lewisham, next-door to the hospital where Paul's life was saved, with seven people in attendance.

Even though Paul had no memory of the time he was in a coma, he was delighted when Sahika told him they were engaged and was keen to marry.


Paul said: "In that moment, I must have realised I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Sahika.

"It could have been an utterly catastrophic day, if I'd had the cardiac arrest on the train and not at home.

"Timing was everything. I could have died and I’d never have all of this."

Paul had to spend ten days in hospital after the ordeal and doctors identified two blocked arteries that had caused the cardiac arrest.

He said he will always be grateful to the paramedics that saved his life and has since met with them to thank them for their work.

Advanced Paramedic Nick Sillett, who was part of the team that saved Paul's life, was delighted to meet him again.

He said: “It was an absolute pleasure to meet Paul and Sahika and to see how well they are both doing.

"It takes a team to save a life – from vehicle technicians ensuring we have working vehicles and procurement ensuring we have the right kit, to call handlers, dispatchers and paramedics.

“As an Advanced Paramedic, I was only one part of that team, and I am just pleased we were all able to help when Paul needed us.”

    Source: Read Full Article