Man has 31 heart attacks and survives

AN electrician brought back from the dead an incredible 31 times in less than an hour, today thanked the paramedics who refused to let him die. Derek Jones, who celebrated his 55th birthday yesterday , astonished medics by surviving a series of potentially fatal heart attacks after being taken ill at work .

AN electrician brought back from the dead an incredible 31 times in less than an hour, today thanked the paramedics who refused to let him die.

Derek Jones, who celebrated his 55th birthday yesterday , astonished medics by surviving a series of potentially fatal heart attacks after being taken ill at work .

The grandfather-of-two, who lives in Hellesdon, Norfolk was on his way to an electrical job in Sheringham when he began to feel unwell.

“I had a pain down the front of my chest and felt really hot. By the time I got to Sheringham, I felt terrible. I met my friend Martin (Baldry) at the job, he took one look at me and called the ambulance,” said Mr Jones, who has two daughters, Katrina, 30, and Melissa, 24.

“I didn't have a clue what was happening to me, I thought it was something to do with a neck problem I've got. It didn't even cross my mind that I was having a heart attack.”

East of England Ambulance Service paramedics Chris Hawkins and Toby Reid arrived within six minutes of Martin's 999 call and immediately took an ECG (electrocardiogram) reading which confirmed that Derek had suffered a heart attack.

Most Read

Mr Jones was transferred to an ambulance to begin the 27-mile trip to the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital. Five miles into the journey, his heart rate slowed to a life-threatening level.

He was immediately defibrillated, using a machine which administers an electric shock to the heart in order to re-establish a normal rhythm, and a third paramedic, Colin Woolacott, arrived in a Rapid Response Vehicle to offer back-up.

For the remainder of the journey to hospital, Mr Jones had a heart attack roughly every minute and required an incredible 30 further electric shocks.

“I've never encountered anything like it,” said Mr Reid, who has been a paramedic for four years, “we would shock him and then he would come back, talk to us for a short period, and then it would happen again.

“Nearly every time his heart arrested I thought we wouldn't get him back, but we did.”

Mr Jones said: “I thought I was in the middle of a nightmare and I tried to fight the paramedics off. In my line of work I've had plenty of electric shocks, but nothing like this!”

Heart specialists at the NNUH had been alerted to Mr Jones's arrival, and were waiting to take over from the paramedics when they arrived at hospital at 1.50pm on November 21. Once in hospital, Derek's heart failed - and was revived - a further five times.

“I am very lucky to still be here,” said Miss Jones, who was sent home from hospital seven days later after being prescribed drugs to regulate his heart.

“There are no words to describe how I feel about the paramedics. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here today and I just can't thank them enough.”

Sharon, 45, Mr Jones' wife of 28 years, said: “I think someone was looking down on Derek that day and saying 'it's not your time'. Without those paramedics, I wouldn't have any reason to celebrate this Christmas.”

John Scott, medical director at the ambulance service, said: “I have never heard of a patient receiving this number of shocks before - he is truly lucky to be alive.”

N Have you had a reason to be grateful to the emergency services? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter