22 August 2011
A mother who suffered a
cardiac arrest has been reunited with the “heroes” who helped
save her life.
Pezo Benjamin of South Park Drive,
Ilford, husband Sam and 10-month-old baby Yanis had an
emotional meeting at Romford ambulance station with the crews who
were called out to her in January.
“Words can’t explain our gratitude,” Sam,
Pezo’s husband of three years, said. “You saved my wife’s life and
I can’t thank you all enough.”
Thirty-one-year-old Pezo was asleep when Sam
noticed something was not quite right.
“It was about 1am when I woke up with a
start,” said bank worker Sam.
“I checked on our baby Yanis, who was still in
a cot in our room, and he was sleeping soundly, then I looked at
Pezo. She looked like she was having a bad dream so I decided to
wake her up.”
No amount of shaking would wake his wife and
Sam remembers her breathing sounded strange: “Her breathing just
wasn’t normal. It was too shallow. Then she gave one final really
long breath and her eyes rolled up. She looked dead.”
Sam dialled 999 and spoke to an emergency
“The call taker was amazing” Sam said. “She
made me move Pezo off the bed and told me how to do
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). She then counted me
through the chest compressions.”
Emergency Medical Technician Ben Copsey was
first on scene. He said: “I remember Sam was performing good
quality CPR. That basically saved Pezo’s life.”
Pezo said her doctor’s agreed: “All the
consultants in the hospital said what your husband did kept you
“It made me think, if my husband, who had no
experience in first aid can do it, just think what you could do if
you did have some lifesaving skills.”
Ambulance crews, Rachel Bolton and Jill Bull,
and Hayley Jones and Nicky Ladrowski, along with Emergency Medical
Technician John Reed arrived on scene shortly after.
They gave Pezo's heart three shocks with
defibrillator and it restarted.
Rachel and Jill took Pezo to King George’s
Hospital. From there she was transferred to St Bartholomew’s
Hospital in the City where she was fitted with an ICD implant, a
pacemaker that shocks her heart back to a normal rhythm if it
starts to beats irregularly.
Pezo and Sam gave each member of staff a pen
engraved with ‘chindume’ which means hero in Pezo’s father’s native
Zambian dialect to thank them.
According to the latest
London Ambulance Service figures, more Londoners than ever are
surviving a cardiac arrest.
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