Heart attack policeman is reunited with life savers

 Paul Edington reunited with life savers

Paul Edington, a London policeman, has been reunited with the people who saved his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest. Now recovering at his home in Epping, he is keen to spread the word about the need for more local people to become Community First Responders (CFRs) so more lives can be saved.

Paul, 41, was resuscitated by the five-strong team from St John Ambulance and the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) after he collapsed at home on the evening of 30 December.

Two St John Ambulance Community First Responders and three East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) paramedics used an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to deliver an electric shock to his heart when he fell unconscious and stopped breathing.

Warning signs

Several hours before his heart attack, Paul began experiencing severe aching in both arms but dismissed it as nothing serious. As he was serving a meal to his family that evening, the pains worsened and he began to feel hot and extremely unwell.

He recalls: ‘I went outside to get some air and a neighbour took one look at me and dialled 999.’

Rapid response

The neighbour’s call meant St John Ambulance CFRs John Newman and his wife Sandra, who live nearby, were at the scene within minutes. They were closely followed by East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust paramedic Nigel Vince who called his control room to request an ambulance. 

By the time Paul suffered a full cardiac arrest, the ambulance and two more EEAST paramedics had arrived.

'I couldn't have been in better hands when I collapsed.

‘If they hadn't got to me as quickly as they did and used the AED then I wouldn't be here now. I owe them my life,’ says Paul, who enjoyed keeping fit and had no history of heart problems before his collapse.’

Community First Responders

CFRs are trained by St John Ambulance to attend emergency calls in the area where they live, work or study. They are dispatched at the same time as the ambulance to life or death emergencies in their neighbourhood and are equipped so they can provide life saving emergency aid in the first few vital minutes before a paramedic arrives.

John Newman, who is Head of Emergency Operations for St John Ambulance says: ‘Paul's case is a perfect example of how we're able to save lives in local communities through great team working between CFRs and the NHS ambulance service.’

Volunteer with St John Ambulance

Find out more about becoming a CFR in your area.