A Wigan dad has offered emotional thanks to a 999 crew who saved his life when his heart stopped.
Steve Burbage mistook the onset of an arrest for indigestion, but called NHS 111 for advice after encouragement from wife Julie.
It proved to be the right decision, for the 57-year-old collapsed just moments after being put in the back of an ambulance. He said: “I was very lucky about where it happened. If you are going to go into cardiac arrest, you might as well do it in an ambulance.”
Steve, a retired Liverpool John Moores University careers adviser, had gone for a walk along the canal on March 13 when he started feeling unwell.
He said: “All of a sudden I started feeling a little bit dizzy and getting chest pains. Sometimes you read about people having heart attacks and they say it’s like someone standing on them, but it wasn’t that severe, I could still walk.”
He kept walking for a few minutes, before realising something was not right and returned to his home in Platt Bridge. He thought it was indigestion and went to lie down, but then went downstairs to tell Julie he still wasn’t well.
She persuaded Steve, who has two children and two step-grandchildren, to call NHS 111 and the calm call-handler arranged for paramedics to attend.
Steve said: “I was trying to do the macho thing and deny it was a big deal. Typical bloke I guess.”
Paramedic John Grimshaw and emergency medical technician Jess Crowe arrived to check on Steve. They found his heart rate slow and blood pressure up and down, so they took him to the ambulance and put him on a stretcher.
Steve tried to get up, but he went into cardiac arrest and Jess began chest compressions. Fortunately, after two cycles of compressions and shocks, the pair revived him and he was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital where medics found an artery 98 per cent blocked and fitted it with a stent.
Steve was discharged after four days but continues to take medication, needs rehab and now has an irregular heartbeat. He believes he ate healthily anyway, but will now have “less curry and beer” and joked he would not watch his beloved Everton matches live anymore.
He says there were no warnings that he would have a heart attack, but thinks he may have been a “ticking timebomb” due to his eating habits in his younger years, such as food cooked in lard by his mum and takeaways after pub visits.
Steve took to Facebook to thanks Jess and John for saving his life and was invited to Wigan Community Fire and Ambulance Station to see them again. He also thanked staff at NHS 111, Wythenshawe and other healthcare providers for the treatment and support he received.
Steve hopes his experience will encourage other people to get checked if they have any health concerns and not dismiss them.