Ridgewood woman Donna Hills has been presented with a Royal Humane Society Award after saving the life of a neighbour.
She was called out onto the street last year by her husband Tim when he found 65-year-old John Goring collapsed on the pavement in Lewes Road.
John wasn’t breathing, as the result of a heart attack, and Donna immediately started CPR treatment (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). She was encouraged to keep going by a 999 operator who was on a phone held by her daughter Katie.
It took 40 minutes to resuscitate John through CPR and use of a defibrillator brought by paramedics who quickly arrived on the scene. John was without oxygen to the brain for 35 minutes.
He was taken to Brighton Hospital in an ambulance with blue lights flashing, was in a coma for three or four weeks and remained in hospital for five weeks after that.
His recovery has been slow but while he remembers nothing about collapsing or what happened afterwards he is fully aware now that he owes his life to Donna. It was his daughter Lisa who nominated Donna for a Royal Humane Society Award.
John, who lives in New Road, told Uckfield News: “I am amazed by what Donna was able to do. “It was very clever, brilliant, and I am very grateful.”
Donna says she has done first aid training because of her job as manager at Framfield Pre-School but she had never needed to do this before.
“I hope I never have to do it again for anyone,” she said. “I just knew that doing something is better than doing nothing.”
She said she didn’t panic, her training just seemed to kick in, and she had no intention of giving up. An operator talking to her daughter just kept saying “Keep going, they (the paramedics) will soon be with you.”
Her award from the Royal Humane Society is for “humanity, promptitude and skill”.
While Donna and the paramedics undoubtedly saved his life John said he was also grateful to the NHS: “Never knock the NHS, they are fantastic. They were marvellous down there, they are not nurses, they are angels.”
Deprived of oxygen
When John came home he couldn’t speak properly as a result of being deprived of oxygen after his heart attack. He couldn’t remember what objects were called but he is much better now. He has his own defibrillator fitted which will kick in automatically if he has another attack.
John is a keen golfer and a member of East Sussex National Golf Club, playing twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
When he got back to playing golf he got a hole-in-one two games running. It had never happened before for him, and hasn’t happened since.
When John had his heart attack he had been walking his daughter’s golden retriever Harvey which was then out in her garden.
John’s wife Jean who was also called to her husband said Harvey definitely sensed what was happening and if he had been let out he would have gone straight to John.
Sadly Harvey died a few weeks after John came out of hospital and the family thinks it was as a result of the stress of John’s heart attack.
Jean said: “He was only seven and a healthy dog, but very sensitive, and is much missed.”
John was also lucky that he was found by Tim who went out to the post box after watching Andy Murray win the Wimbledon men’s tennis final.
If it had taken Andy a little bit longer to win the game, John recognises, the outcome for him could have been very different.