Police save man’s life with defibrillator

Brian Finnigan was saved by a defibrillator after suffering a cardiac arrest while working at Charnock Richard services, he is pictured with his wife Angela Finnigan and daughter Joanne Pearson
Brian Finnigan was saved by a defibrillator after suffering a cardiac arrest while working at Charnock Richard services, he is pictured with his wife Angela Finnigan and daughter Joanne Pearson
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Heroic police officers worked tirelessly to bring a grandad back from the dead after finding him collapsed and lifeless.

Brian Finnigan, 44, who lives in Coppull, near Chorley, suddenly suffered a cardiac arrest while painting the bridge at Charnock Richard motorway services.

Luckily for Brian, police officers were in the right place at the right time and after discovering Brian, they performed CPR before shocking his heart with a defibrillator fitted in a police car.

Brian, who is married to Angela and has two children and five grandchildren, said: “I was technically dead for about 20 minutes, but the team of officers worked like mad to save me with chest compressions.

“They then used a defibrillator which had recently been fitted into the back of their police car to shock my heart into working again.

“They were all true heroes and without the defibrillator, I would definitely have been a goner.”

The drama unfolded while Brian was working during the night painting the bridge at the services where he works in maintenance.

Brian said: “I was working with my colleague David and about 1am, I told him that I felt really hot and that we’d just finish the bit we were doing and then have a brew.

“I put my tray and roller down and I don’t remember a thing after that.”

PC Simon Spencer, who works with the North West Motorway Policing group at Lancashire Constabulary, was carrying out a routine patrol with a colleague at Charnock Richard Services when he was alerted to the incident.

He said: “We had just walked into the services when we saw a man shaking and panicking who told us his mate had collapsed and he thought he was dead.

“When we got to Brian, he was lifeless with blue lips and his eyes rolled back in his head and was unresponsive.

“We called an ambulance and then it was action stations trying to revive Brian.

“Fortunately, only a few months earlier, North West Ambulance Service had trained us in using defibrillators and about six or seven of our road policing vehicles were fitted with them.

“Luckily, we had other patrols nearby, so we performed CPR before putting our defibrillator training into action and we worked on Brian for about 15 to 20 minutes until the paramedics took over.

“The miraculous thing was that less than an hour after Brian was taken to Royal Preston Hospital, he was sat up in bed and talking to his family.

“It was a team effort and around seven police officers were involved.

“We are just glad we were able to help and it shows how important defibrillators are.”

Mark Evans, North West Ambulance Service area manager for community resuscitation, said: “We worked in partnership with Lancashire Police earlier this year to get defibrillators fitted in several of their frontline motorway and traffic vehicles.

“Traffic police are often first at the scene of road traffic accidents and the idea was to give them the equipment to potentially save lives.

“We delivered training to around 60 police officers as even though you can’t go wrong with using a defibrillator, it is good to familiarise yourself with them before a real emergency like Brain’s case.

“We are delighted that our partnership with the police and fitting vehicles with defibrillators has worked and that Brian had a happy outcome.

“Effective CPR and defibrillation gives the patient the best chance of survival.”

Brian, who has just celebrated his 44th wedding anniversary, said: “Before this happened, I was fit and healthy and had only been to the doctors about four times in 30 years.

“It just shows, you never know when something like this could happen and when you could need a defibrillator.

“The police officers were real heroes and went over and beyond their duty and even collected Angela and took her to the hospital.

“I had lots of tests and am now at home recovering, but am doing really well, apart from having a sore chest and ribs from all the chest compressions!

“I want to thank everyone involved in saving my life from my colleagues David and Gareth to the police officers, paramedics and hospital staff.

“They are all true heroes.”