Redbridge mum thanks lifesavers

Cardiac arrest patient Pezo Benjamin with her husband Sam and baby Yanis22 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 medical dispatcher.

“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 alive.

“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 the 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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