A man thought to have ‘died’ eight times during a massive cardiac arrest says he is “humbled” to have met the medics who saved his life.
Michael Speariett, from Deborah Avenue, Fulwood, Preston, survived against the odds thanks to quick-thinking neighbours and paramedics.
The-dad-of-three was able to meet the Lancashire paramedics in an emotional surprise reunion, organised by his grateful wife Maureen and daughters Charlotte, Vicky and Angela.
It is thought vital minutes were bought by a combination of the speedy medical treatment and fast-acting neighbours, John O’Gara and Dave Kelly who gave him CPR for six minutes until they arrived.
Two blockages in Michael’s arteries are thought to have triggered the attack, which happened as he walked to his daughter’s home with his young grandson and granddaughter.
Emergency medical technician Yvonne McKeown, 46, from Ashton, Preston, paramedic Matthew Gallagher, 42, from Longridge, and student Beth Entwistle, 20, from Preston, were first on the scene, quickly followed by rapid response driver Phil Waring, 46.
Michael was the second person Beth had ever helped to save - the trainee sat in a bush to cradle his head and keep his airway clear while he was treated by her North West Ambulance Service colleagues.
The family faced days of uncertainty, with Maureen sleeping by his bedside in intensive care as they waited to see how he responded.
The 67-year-old was unable to breathe properly on his own at first and the family feared his life-support machine would have to be turned off.
After being unconscious for six days, he woke in intensive care in the Royal Preston Hospital with his family around him, and was transferred to Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s cardiac unit where he had two stents fitted.
The couple had their sapphire wedding anniversary while he was in their care.
Michael, who has eight grandchildren, was eventually allowed home after six weeks.
The retired joiner, who enjoys clay pigeon shooting and fishing, does not remember anything about it - and did not believe his family when he awoke in hospital.
On meeting the paramedics, he was choked as he said: “It’s brilliant, albeit a bit daunting.
“I don’t remember anything at all.”
But it is etched in the mind of his wife of 46 years, Maureen, who said: “He had just left and I could see our granddaughter waving at me up the street. I didn’t realise why at first. But then we ran out and could see him lying there on the ground, next to a bush.
“The paramedics were here in just six minutes.
“They were shocking him at the scene and then he went in the ambulance. We lost him eight times in total but they brought him back.
“It was awful. He did have a mild heart attack when he was 48 but it was stress related.”
The couple are well known in the community as they used to be licensees. They started out running the Farmers at Higher Wheelton, near Chorley, and after travelling around the country - as far as Portsmouth - they ended their career at the Albion in Chorley.
Phil said: “It’s not often we find out what happens to our patients so it is an honour.
“It was a very hot day, chaotic as so many people had come out. I could see Beth sat in a bush with Michael. People were understandably extremely upset but you have to filter it out and treat the patient.
“It is particular significant to me as Michael was one of the last patients I treated before I had to change my job due to an injury.”