Joanna's story

Joanna trained in first aid as part of her job. She was the Health and Safety Assistant at law firm Hogan Lovell, and so was responsible for monitoring the first aid cover for the firm. She was keen to become a first aider herself and so took the St John Ambulance four day First aid at work course in October 2007. She expected one day she might have to use her training at work, but had no idea that it might one day save the life of a stranger in the street.

On the 20 September 2009 Joanna was driving home with her three month old baby when she saw a group of people gathered round a man on the pavement. She could see the man was lying next to a bicycle and was clearly ill. It took only a few moments for her to recognise a potentially serious incident and, as no-one seemed to be taking any action, she decided to pull over.

After establishing that the man, Keith, hadn’t been involved in a road accident, Joanna drew on her training and took action. As he wasn’t breathing, Joanna checked that the emergency services had been called and immediately began CPR.

She continued for almost 15 minutes and assisted a First Responder who arrived at the scene with an automated external defibrillator (AED). The responder asked her to carry on giving compressions after the shock and she did so. A second shock was administered, with still no response from the casualty. After the third shock the ambulance arrived and the crew took over the CPR. The team then transported Keith into the ambulance and left the scene.

Over the next few months Joanna wondered what had happened to Keith, but didn’t feel she should try to contact him directly. Thankfully Keith survived and ten months later he and Joanna were re-united. They both vowed to campaign together for greater public awareness of basic life saving skills, and have since organised a training camp which saw 140 people trained in CPR.

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