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Pam Brown thanks lifesaver at the King's School in Canterbury

A grandmother who was just a few minutes from dying after suffering cardiac arrest says there are "no words" to thank the work colleague who saved her life.

Pam Brown, 58, collapsed at the King's School in Canterbury and was found unconscious and not breathing in a corridor by Michael Turner.

Pam Brown who was saved with CPR (18774330)
Pam Brown who was saved with CPR (18774330)

He swiftly stepped in to administer CPR while a vital defibrillator was rushed to the scene.

Now Mr Turner, who teaches geography, has been given a national lifesaving award by the British Heart Foundation for his prompt action.

Pam says is is hard to find the right words to show her appreciation for his quick-thinking and skills.

"How do you say 'thank you' when someone has done something like that - there are no words," she said.

"Because of Michael and his training, I was able to have Christmas with my family."

But she did write him a letter expressing her feelings while recovering from the episode which kept her off work for almost a year.

BHF CPR Hero Michael Turner with his award (18124923)
BHF CPR Hero Michael Turner with his award (18124923)

The drama happened in November last year but Michael, who now teaches in Somerset, was only awarded his CPR Hero award by the BHF last week when the full story emerged.

The 30-year-old is a former lifeguard who is highly trained in first aid.

He shouted for help after discovering Pam unconscious and not breathing on the floor in a corridor and started CPR while the school’s defibrillator was rushed to the scene.

Recalling the frightening incident, he said: “My panic levels rose and adrenalin started to flow as I started CPR.

"The defibrillator analysed the heart rhythm and delivered a shock, after which I went straight back on with CPR.

"The two minutes between analysing the patient seemed like 10 but there were still no signs of life."

The King's School, Canterbury (18823185)
The King's School, Canterbury (18823185)

Michael continued to carry out compressions until the machine advised 'no shock advised'.

"As I prepared to carry on CPR again, suddenly there was the best sound I had heard when Pam took a breath," he said.

During the procedure, five of Pam's ribs were cracked but experts say some such damage is often the consequence of doing the procedure correctly.

Pam, a mother-of-two with two grandchildren who lives in Wincheap, says Michael was very apologetic about her damaged ribs but she says it was a small price to pay.

Her close call has also given her a new appreciation of the fragility of life.

"It has changed my outlook and my husband Paul and I now have a bucket list of things we want to do," she said.

She is also urging everyone to get first aid training.

Dave Crane, who is the regimental sergeant major of the King's School cadet force and a first aid instructor says first aid classes now form a vital part of the school's curriculum and are one of its most popular and valued lessons.

"Being able to administer CPR can extend the window of survival after cardiac arrest by up to 12 minutes which is crucial until further help arrives.

"There are also CPR apps from organisations like St John Ambulance and the Red Cross which I recommend everyone has on their phones.

He also revealed that since Pam's episode, the school had invested in more defibrillators and there are now nine across the school sites for swift access.

Chief executive of the British Heart Foundation Simon Gillespie said: "When someone has a cardiac arrest – every second counts. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chances of survival drop by around 10%.

"Thousands more lives could be saved if we all knew life-saving CPR skills and had access to a defibrillator while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

"The BHF is striving to improve survival rates by creating a 'nation of lifesavers' through our CPR training programmes and working with governments and local authorities to ensure that it is routinely taught in schools."

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