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Attleborough nurse saves cardiac arrest man at bus station

PUBLISHED: 06:30 22 December 2011

Brian Spall thanks the nurse who saved his life, Laura Dickerson, who came to the rescue when he had a cardiac arrest at Norwich bus station. Photo by Simon Finlay

Brian Spall thanks the nurse who saved his life, Laura Dickerson, who came to the rescue when he had a cardiac arrest at Norwich bus station. Photo by Simon Finlay

Archant Norfolk Copyright

A grandfather-of-two has told how he and his family are counting their blessings this Christmas after an Attleborough nurse and a passer-by saved his life when he had a cardiac arrest.

Cardiology nurse Laura Dickerson, from Norwich Road, Attlelborough, was in the right place at the right time to spring into action to help save Brian Spall when he collapsed while waiting for a bus.

The 23-year-old Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital nurse was helped by an anonymous passer-by to administer chest compressions and rescue breaths until paramedics could get to the scene.

Mr Spall, 64, said: “I call her my angel and I think she’s superb.

“The other man who helped, the paramedics, the staff nurses and doctors who looked after me and cared for me to get me to this stage - I think they are wonderful and I wish them all a happy Christmas and a happy New Year, and that’s from the bottom of my heart.”

Miss Dickerson and the retired British Sugar were reunited yesterday at his home in Lingwood. She said that Mr Spall was fortunate that she happened to be at the bus station on Wednesday, December 14.

She said: “I haven’t been on a bus for six or seven year so he’s extremely lucky I went on one that day.”

Mr Spall had used the Postwick Park and Ride to travel into the city centre for a spot of shopping.

Miss Dickerson, who was meeting up with some colleagues for lunch and to do some Christmas shopping, added: “Just as I was getting off the bus I saw a bit of a commotion just in front of where the bus had stopped and found Brian on the floor. I could see he didn’t look too sharp and saw he wasn’t breathing and had no pulse so I started chest compressions on him.”

“Another man was there - I don’t know who he was, he could have been from the bus station or just got off the bus, and he was helping as well by doing the rescue breaths.”

Working on the N&N’s Kilverstone cardiology ward, Miss Dickerson has carried out cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before, but says it was a much more nerve-racking experience without having equipment and colleagues to hand.

The city centre cycling paramedic was the first to arrive, shortly followed by an ambulance. Miss Dickerson carried on chest compressions while they removed Mr Spall’s coat and jumper so he could be attached to a defibrillator. He came round shortly after being shocked and was rushed to the N&N.

Mr Spall was moved up to Miss Dickerson’s ward and she visited later in the day to check if he was doing well.

Mr Spall, who first had heart problems seven years ago but has been fine since, underwent an operation last Friday to fit an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), a small battery-powered electrical impulse generator which is programmed to detect irregular heart rhythms and correct it by delivering a jolt of electricity.

He was able to be discharged on Saturday and is now looking forward to spending Christmas with his son Darren and daughter Diane, and is looking forward to the arrival of his first granddaughter next March.

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