‘What can I say? Without them, I wouldn’t be here’

Iris with husband John

Iris with husband John

Great-grandmother-of-four Iris Merry has praised our nurse, Anna Page, for helping to save her life when she had a cardiac arrest on the street in Romford.

The incident happened in December and led to a long recovery for Iris, with weeks in hospital including Queen’s and St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, and having a pacemaker fitted.

As she continues to recover at home in Romford, Iris has thanked Anna who helped save her life, alongside a passing GP and members of the public.

Iris, pictured above with husband John, said: “I’d gone to have a haircut, feeling fine, then was heading back to my car when I started feeling giddy. Then bang, I was smack down on the pavement and don’t remember anymore until I heard a faint screaming, getting louder, and realised it was me.

“I woke up briefly when the paramedics got there and then I was intensive care. It didn’t hit me what had happened until I got home and I was traumatised by it. I was very lucky it happened in a public place and there was a nurse nearby, I’ve since heard a very low percentage of people who have a cardiac arrest out of hospital survive. I had the right people, in the right place to help.”

Our nurse Anna Page in uniform

Anna, our Director of Nursing for Workforce was Christmas shopping in Romford with her husband when she came across a crowd of people trying to help Iris. She took over and started CPR straight away.

She said: “I’m a ITU nurse by background but hadn’t done CPR in years and I’ve never done it on a busy street before. Luckily, I’d completed my mandatory basic life support training just a month before.

“Members of the public were really helpful, they’d already called an ambulance and some ran off to get a defibrillator, I had two brought back.”

Anna has taken the opportunity to encourage everyone to get basic life support training, including CPR, so they could save a life if the situation arose.

She added: “Being able to do something is better than nothing. Training is free and doesn’t take long.”

The British Heart Foundation offers free CPR training which you can do in just 15 minutes online.

Iris, who has four grandchildren and a great-grandson, added: “CPR courses are definitely a good thing.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for everything they did for me, they saved my life.”

Lizzie Moscardini, RevivR Programme Manager at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “Everyone at the BHF sends their warmest wishes to Iris as she continues to recover. Anna’s quick actions to step in during this emergency is an example of the power of CPR and defibrillation to save lives.

“Tragically, there are over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year in the UK and a cardiac arrest can affect anyone, at any time. Quick CPR and defibrillation gives someone the best chance of survival, so we want as many people to learn CPR as possible. You can learn for free in just 15 minutes with our innovative tool RevivR – all you need is a cushion and a phone.”

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