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Guildford GP survives cardiac arrest for daughter's wedding

4 minute read
Guildford GP survives cardiac arrest for daughter's wedding

Published at 7:04pm 2nd November 2017.

A Guildford GP has walked his daughter down the aisle at her wedding - just 12 days after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Dr John Williams, his wife Jane and daughter Helen, made an emotional visit to Guildford Ambulance Station to thank the ambulance crews who helped save his life when he collapsed suddenly on August 20.

The visit provided John a chance to thank the crews in person and fill in a few of the blanks from the day.

The last thing the active 70-year-old remembers is enjoying a Sunday cycle ride on his own in Guildford before waking up in Frimley Park Hospital’s cardiac suite.

“I couldn’t understand why I was there,” he said. “I hadn’t had any of the classic symptoms of any heart problems and actually felt very well but fate was on my side that day.”

Luckily for John a passing driver saw him fall and immediately called 999 where SECAmb Emergency Medical Advisor Hayley Philps took the call who quickly provided instructions and gathered the necessary information from the scene.

A second stroke of good fortune was the arrival of bystander Craig Ryall, a highly-trained helicopter medic with the United Nations from Wales, who was in the town to visit the university.

Craig, who only came across John because he chose to ignore his vehicle’s sat nav instructions, was giving excellent cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when the first SECAmb crews arrived at the scene.

The vital early CPR kept John alive to allow the ambulance team to administer a shock which restarted his heart.

They were quickly backed up critical care paramedics Kenny O’Driscoll and Nathan Ward, who sedated John for the journey to Frimley Park, where he was quickly given stents to open a completely-blocked coronary artery.

The team was also well supported throughout by Operational Team Leader Lesley Jamieson.

“It was a traumatic time for us,” said John’s wife Jane, who usually would have been out riding with John.

“The first we heard of what had happened was when the police called round.

"They were tremendous rushing us to the hospital to be with John but also we were right in the middle of preparing for Helen’s wedding with my one son already on a flight over from Australia.

“But John made a quite amazing recovery and was in hospital just five days.

“We are just so grateful to everyone who came to John’s aid on the day of his accident, from the people who stopped, to the ambulance crews who rushed to his side and of course all the hospital staff.

"It made the wedding just that little bit extra special for all of us.”

John, a former cardiac registrar, who retired as a family GP five years ago, is now back on his bike and even back working part time with very little neural deficit other than memory loss from the day.

“It was just wonderful to be able to meet these amazing people today,” he said. “They were able to help fill in the blanks from the day and the worst effect I have been suffering is a sore shoulder which took the impact when I fell from my bike.

“The wedding was a wonderful day for us all and the only down side was Jane and I had to cancel a cycling holiday we had planned across Cambodia.”



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