I owe you my life



Thursday 22nd August 2013 – 8.50am – Claire Brown.

A man who ‘died’ in Wolverhampton in March has been reunited with the train station staff that saved his life this week.

Husband and wife, Norman and Jean Brotherton, we’re on their way to Yorkshire for a weeks’ holiday on Saturday 30th March when they were told the train they were due to catch at Wolverhampton Train Station wasn’t running. Instead, a replacement bus service had been arranged so the couple headed to the bus station around the corner. Moments before the bus left the station, Norman stopped breathing.

Jean, 74, from Penn said: “We’d just got on the bus and sat down when I turned round to speak to Norman and realised something had happened to him. I tried to talk to Norman but he didn’t answer so I called out for someone to call 999.”

Fortunately for Norman, four staff from the train station who were helping passengers on-board the replacement bus knew exactly what to do. Train Station Manager, Dave Whitehouse and his three colleagues Stuart Vickers, Steve Wade and Kim Weaver-Davis jumped on board the bus to help Norman and his wife.

Dave and Stuart realised Norman wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse so immediately started CPR. Whilst Kim reassured his wife, Steve raced to the train station to collect their defibrillator. With the defibrillator in hand (a device used to restart someone’s heart when they’ve suffered a cardiac arrest) Steve ran back to the bus to help Dave and Stuart with resuscitation efforts.

Dave said: “We did CPR on Norman for about 7-8 minutes, shocking him once with the defibrillator, until a responder paramedic arrived.  It doesn’t seem like a long time now but, that day, it felt like an eternity.”

When ambulance crews arrived, Norman’s heart was beating but he was still unconscious. Norman was taken by land ambulance to New Cross Hospital where he remained for 20 days.

Norman said: “I don’t know anything at all about that day or for the two days after. All I know is that I was sitting on a bus and I died. The staff at the train station are wonderful people and I owe them my life.”

Jean, 74 said: “I cannot thank the train staff enough for what they did that day. Their names are imprinted in our minds and it’s like having three more sons and a daughter in our lives. Thank you.”

Emma Wilkins, the Trust’s Black Country Community Response Manager, trained the staff at the train station three years ago and provided the defibrillator which is located at the station and is on hand in case of an emergency.  Emma said: “If someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their chances of survival dramatically increases if someone starts CPR and uses a defibrillator straight away. Norman survived thanks to the swift actions of Dave, Stuart, Steve and Kim.”

Dave continued: “We’re all really thankful to West Midlands Ambulance Service as they gave us the skills and equipment to make a difference to someone’s life. Norman is the third person we’ve saved from a cardiac arrest and it makes you realise how important it is to do CPR and use a defibrillator. We’re all really pleased Norman is doing well and it was great to see him and his wife again.”




Notes to Editors:

Photograph one: (Left to right back row) Dave Whitehouse, Jean Brotherton, Norman Brotherton and Stuart Vickers. (Left to right front row) Steve Wade, Kim Weaver-Davis and Emma Wilkins.

If you’re interested in learning life-saving skills and want to find out more about a defibrillator for your local community group or business, please contact emma.wilkins@wmas.nhs.uk or 07884 052 285. If you already have a defibrillator that wasn’t obtained through West Midlands Ambulance Service, please contact Emma to add your defibrillator location to the Trust’s database.





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