Heart attack victim thanks paramedic who saved him
A father whose heart stopped beating three times has personally thanked the "hero" paramedic who saved his life.
Mick Smith, a maintenance engineer for DHL at East Midlands Airport, in north west Leicestershire, thought he was going to die when he suffered a major heart attack while at work.
He was saved by East Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic Michael Thrift, who carried out CPR and used a defibrillator to help re-start his heart.
Mr Smith, his wife, Tracey, and daughter, Evie, met Mr Thrift to say thank you yesterday.
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"I'm not exaggerating when I say the paramedic is my hero," said Mr Smith. "He gave me my life back."
The 44-year-old was at work on October 31 last year, when he became hot and dizzy and started feeling pains in his chest. He went to his work first aider and an ambulance was called.
Two of the airport's community first responders were sent to the scene, along with Mr Thrift, who is based in Loughborough.
The paramedic, who has 25 years' experience with the ambulance service, realised Mr Smith, from Chaddesden, near Derby, was seriously ill.
Moments later, his heart stopped – and it stopped two more times as the emergency workers fought to save his life.
Mr Smith, who is now recovering at home following an operation at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital, said: "It all happened too quickly. I went from making my own way to the first aid office to my heart stopping for five minutes and the paramedic having to bring me back to life.
"I wasn't meant to be in work that night – it was Hallowe'en and I said I'd take my seven-year-old trick or treating. Then I got a call to fix a problem, so I told my wife I would be back in a couple of hours. I'm glad I went in, as there were people to help me at work and they'd recently got a defibrillator. I don't like to think about what might have happened if I'd collapsed in the street with my daughter there.
"The treatment I got from everyone, including the hospitals, has been amazing."
Mr Smith was taken to Royal Derby Hospital, where he had surgery to clear a blood clot from an artery and had a stent fitted to keep the blood vessel open.
An hour later, he suffered another clot and had to have more surgery.
Tests showed there was severe damage to one of the four chambers in his heart, which meant it could stop at any time.
In January, doctors at Glenfield Hospital fitted a special device – known as an ICD – which constantly monitors his heart rhythm and can shock it to correct it if there is a problem.
Mr Thrift said: "Seconds count when someone has a cardiac arrest," he said. "Mr Smith was lucky as it happened in front of me so I was able to work with the support of community first responders and give him treatment straight away. Everyone should learn first aid for exactly this reason.
"For Mr Smith, there was a defibrillator at work and people on the scene who were trained to assist, and that saved his life."