A STAFFORD woman who was brought back from the dead after having a cardiac arrest has bought a defibrillator for the town centre.
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The building sustained fire and heat damage to the kitchen and an adjacent room was damaged by smoke as well as flood damage caused by a plumbing connection severed by the heat from the flames.
A Stone man has now spoken of the night he nearly died at his local gym.
Russell Follows said if it hadn’t been for a quick thinking fitness instructor he wouldn’t be alive today.
Mr Follows suffered a cardiac arrest in the changing rooms of the borough council run Westbridge Park Fitness Centre. But local instructor, Lee Nicklin used CPR and an on-site defibrillator to keep the man alive until an ambulance took him to University of North Staffs hospital.
Speaking about the incident Mr Follows, 55, said: “Thanks to Lee I’m still here and in the world.”
Stafford Borough Council provides defibrillators at a number of its premises including all leisure centres, the Civic Centre, Gatehouse Theatre and the crematorium on Tixall Road with around 70 members of staff trained to use them.
Mr Follows continued: “I’m coming to terms with what’s happened. I can’t remember anything from that night, not even driving to the gym, or using the gym.”
“He acted immediately and did enough that evening to save my life and I can only say a million thank yous. And even that’s not enough. He is a genuinely nice guy, and got very emotional when I went in and thanked him last week.”
Mr Follows said how defibrillators are a much needed piece of equipment: “I’m just grateful that as well as Lee there was a defibrillator on hand which is there for everyone to use in emergencies – and as you can see they save lives.”
But the incident has not put him off using the gym: “I enjoy the gym so it’s hard not to go, but I’ve been told to take it easy. So I’m not going to over do it just yet.”
Mr Follows left hospital on Saturday 2 March after under going surgery where he was fitted with a mini defibrillator, following the cardiac arrest last month: “Having the defibrillator fitted was a big decision to make, but really it’s a no brainer it’s like a comfort blanket in case anything happens again. Plus it’s also peace of mind for my family.”
Lee, 39 said: “It was all part of the job. We are trained to use the defibrillators and knowing that it saved Russell’s life demonstrates how important the machine and our regular training is.”
He continued: “It was just so emotional and great to see Russell when he came back into the gym with a thank you card.”
Councillor Mike Smith, cabinet member for leisure, said: “We had a similar incident happen in Stafford several years ago, and it just highlights how important defibrillators are.”