Suffolk pub landlord saves man’s life - and serves him Sunday dinner four days later
PUBLISHED: 17:13 23 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:13 23 September 2018
A village is set to get a fourth defibrillator after a landlord saved the life of a man who suffered a heart attack in his pub.
Stephen Laing, owner the Queen’s Head in Layham, rushed to the aid of Derek Harrison as he went into cardiac arrest at the pub, fell and hit his head on the tiled floor.
Mr Harrison’s wife was trying to remove one of the village’s three automatic electronic defibrillator (AED) from its cabinet in the street outside the pub when Mr Laing realised what was happening and took charge of the situation.
He said the patient was bleeding from his head wound - Mr Harrison was taking anticoagulants which meant his blood was thinner and the situation was even more precarious.
Mr Laing said: “I had to stem the bleeding from his head with a tea towel before anything else.
“Then I checked his pulse and he was only just with us. I knew from my first aid training that the critical time for treatment in emergencies is four minutes.”
Putting his training into action the landlord, who is also a parish councillor, started doing chest compressions to pump oxygen around the body.
“I had started compressions when Derek’s wife arrived with the defibrillator. We got the pads on his chest as the first responder arrived and then they took charge of the situation.”
After two shocks with the defibrillator, Mr Harrison finally stabilised for long enough to move him to an ambulance and he was taken to hospital for further treatment.
Miraculously, just four days later Mr Harrison was back at the Queen’s Head to enjoy a pub lunch and thank the man that saved his life.
“The first thing I said to him was ‘You look a lot taller than the last time I saw you,’ and he laughed,” said Mr Laing.
The doctors that treated Mr Harrison told him that the quick intervention was key to such a speedy recovery.
Mr Harrison suffered a cardiac arrest on August 15, as former EADT and Ipswich Star editor Terry Hunt started campaigning to bring more AEDs to the county after he had a heart attack on the streets of Ipswich.
Now Mr Laing hopes this good news story will help promote the need for more public defibrillators in Suffolk.
Explaining that you do not even need training to use one, he said: “The defibrillator will tell you when to shock the patient - anyone can use them and they could save a life.”
Layham has three publicly-accessible defibrillators and the council are currently raising money to have a fourth installed.
They have been used four times in total to date.
Mr Harrison said: “I’m pleased to have invested in this and to see it save lives, but things can always go further. To see CPR and defibrillator training in schools would be amazing.
“The same goes for first aid training: I’ve had mine for 20 years and the key is not being afraid to take part, give up a little time and learn some skills that could save someone’s life.”