A dramatic 999 call has been released of the moment two hysterical daughters are talked through saving their father’s life when his heart stopped minutes after returning home from holiday.
Guest house owner Keith Richards, 64, collapsed in his bedroom following a two month cruise around South America.
His heart stopped beating, and he had a minimal chance of survival.
But he was kept alive when calm call handlers talked his panicking family into giving him CPR for five minutes before paramedics arrived and took over.
Keith said he cannot remember driving his family home to Penzance, Cornwall, from Southampton on the day of the incident in March.
He managed to carry some travel cases upstairs, before losing consciousness.
He cut his head open in the resulting fall, which alerted his family to the emergency.
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust has now released a recording of the call with the daughter’s frantic screams clearly audible in the background.
Keith’s daughter Louise tells the emergency medical dispatcher Hollie Eames: “He’s going blue. He has collapsed in the bedroom and he is not breathing.
“We don’t know what’s happened, he has cut his head open, there is blood everywhere.”
As she is calmly talked through how to give life-saving CPR with the help of her sister Lyndsey, she is also heard screaming: “He is blue – he has stopped breathing – oh my God.”
Once ambulance crews arrived Keith was given seven shocks with a defibrillator, to get his heart beating again.
He was then driven by ambulance to the Royal Cornwall Hospital and put into an induced coma.
Against all the odds Keith has now made a full recovery and after three weeks of care he was back home and returned to work.
And at a special event at Penance Ambulance Station on Monday, Keith and his family were reunited with the medical team who rushed to his aid.
He said: “I am hugely thankful to everyone involved on that day for their prompt response, and more importantly their resolve in saving my life in a very frightening scenario.
“I have no recollection of what happened. But I gather everyone got on board, and it was all hands on deck.
“My recovery was so quick. Three weeks after having a cardiac arrest, I was serving breakfast to guests. It was crazy.
“I’ve had some down times since then, but I’m so grateful to still be here.”
The family gave ‘thank you’ gift bags to each member of the crew and to EMD Hollie.
In a joint statement his daughters Lindsay and Louise said: “We would like to express our pure gratitude to everyone involved in saving our dad on that fateful day.
“The lady who took our 999 call tried to keep us calm, which was nearly impossible, and the instructions she gave us contributed to saving his life. If the paramedics had not arrived so quickly or had not worked so tirelessly, our loved one would no longer be with us.
“The work you all do deserves so much praise and admiration. What is more important and heroic than helping to save lives? We would all be lost without the services you provide.
“You’ve given us the greatest gift, and we will always remember what you did. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
The initial rescue team included Emergency Care Assistant (ECA) and student paramedic Grahame Barton, paramedic Jonathan Thomas, and student paramedic Bradley Gwennap-Bawden all arrived at the scene within five minutes.
They were followed by paramedic Jamie Harris, ECA Michael Howard, and Community First Responder, Chris Scrase.
Mr Barton said: “Keith is a member of a very special club. Not many people survive a cardiac arrest. Fortunately he got the right treatment at the right time.”
Call handler Hollie added: “It makes my job feel so worthwhile knowing I have made a difference, and that thanks to everyone’s efforts Keith is still with us today.”
Around 30,000 people are treated for cardiac arrests in the UK every year.
Just 9 per cent of people survive an out-of-hospital arrest, but their chances increase significantly when CPR is administered early.