Teacher saved by bystander after cardiac arrest organises for school kids to learn CPR

A teacher whose heart stopped and a bystander who helped medics to save her have joined the appeal for Londoners to ‘step in and be a lifesaver’.

L-R Medic Euan, Rob, Judy Domoney, Rachael Eckley, Andy, Liza

Rachael Eckley suffered a cardiac arrest while meeting a friend for coffee. Judy Domoney, who was in the café at the time, gave chest compressions as medics worked to get Rachael breathing and restart her heart.

The pair were reunited at Coteford Junior School, Pinner, for a special assembly on Wednesday’s Restart a Heart Day organised by Deputy Head Rachael as part of a week of events at the school to promote first aid training and CPR classes.

On Restart a Heart Day, London Ambulance Service called on people to step in to save a life as figures published show less than half of Londoners would help a stranger in cardiac arrest.

Judy, 51, who works from for a construction firm, recalls the shock that set in after Rachael had been taken by ambulance to Harefield Hospital from the Priory Café in Ruislip.

“Immediately after Rachael was taken to hospital the enormity of it hit me. It had been years since I had training and I called work that afternoon and said ‘get me on a first aid course’.

“Get training. You never know, one day it could be a member of your family.

“The training gave me confidence and helped me get rid of unhelpful myths like you can hurt someone or damage them. You can’t – you can only help.”

Since the incident in March, doctors have diagnosed Rachael, 46, with a heart condition that will need continuous monitoring.

She knows she is very fortunate that medics arrived within minutes and that Judy felt confident enough to perform chest compressions while the medics were helping her to breathe.

The mum-of-two explains her experience was behind the decision to hold a programme of events at the school. She said:

“The longer you leave it to step in when someone is in cardiac arrest, the more detrimental it becomes. Judy gave me a chance.

“Only around one or two per cent of people survive a cardiac arrest outside a hospital. Being able to give chest compressions and first aid is vital if we are to try and improve these statistics.

Find out more about Restart a Heart Day and learning life-saving skills.