Sussex heart attack survivor presents ambulance crews with plaque on Valentine’s Day as a thank you

Stephen Massingham presents the plaque to the ambulance crews to thank them for saving his life
Stephen Massingham presents the plaque to the ambulance crews to thank them for saving his life

A truck driver whose life was saved following a heart attack was reunited with the ambulance crews who helped him on Valentine’s Day.

Stephen Massingham, 61, wanted to personally thank the South East Coast Ambulance Service team and went along to meet them a year and a day after his collapse.

He said: “Quite simply, without the ambulance crews, I wouldn’t be here. I can’t remember anything after my collapse through to waking up in hospital, where they also did a really good job.

“It’s been really good to thank everyone in person for their part in ensuring I’m here today. I’ll never forget what they did for me.”

Stephen said he was also grateful to his son James, who began the emergency CPR procedure on his dad moments after he collapsed in front of him.

Paramedic Laura-Jean Oliver said: “James did a great job and his actions ensured his dad was given the best possible chance of survival. It was great to meet with everyone again.”

Stephen, a truck driver for 40 years, was sent home from work feeling unwell on February 13 last year. He collapsed in front of James later that evening and James acted immediately by calling 999, then following CPR instructions.

James said: “I just did what I was told and had to do. It was a relief when the crews arrived. They did an amazing job.”

Laura-Jean and crewmate John Pollard were first on scene, in less than four minutes. The pair took over the resuscitation from James and were quickly joined by colleagues, paramedic, Gareth Jones, emergency care support worker Sheenagh Hughes and then student paramedic Christine Cannon.

The team worked together to provide the expert help needed, including delivering a shock with a defibrillator to restart Stephen’s heart.

Further assistance came from critical care paramedic Dave Priest, who arrived with now newly-qualified paramedic Rebecca Lemon.

Dave said: “All the hard work happened before I arrived. What is of vital importance is that the basics of resuscitation carried out by James had taken place.

“Bystander CPR is absolutely key. My colleagues then worked really well as a team to resuscitate Stephen. The additional critical care I can provide is not possible without the work of others first.

“Everyone did a great job and it makes me feel very proud. On behalf of the whole team I wish Stephen and his family all the very best for the future.”

Stephen was taken to Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, where immediate treatment was given, including having stents fitted. He was discharged ten days later.

Since then, he has lost more than 50kg in weight and has quit smoking.

Stephen,from Goring, met the crews who helped saved his life again at Worthing Ambulance Station on Valentine’s Day, as he wanted to personally thank the team and present a plaque. He was joined by family and friends, including James.