Christmas miracle: Brackley nurse thanks those who saved her life

A nurse said ‘thank you’ to the ambulance crew and 999 call handler who helped save her life after suffering a cardiac arrest on Boxing Day last year.

Charlotte Pickwick and her husband Stuart were reunited with the East Midlands Ambulance Service team in Brackley on Monday.

(L-R) Clinical operations manager Danny Hone, emergency care assistant Louise Capell, paramedic Sophie Hudson, Charlotte Pickwick, Stuart Pickwick and emergency call taker Claire Smalley outside Brackley Ambulance Station

(L-R) Clinical operations manager Danny Hone, emergency care assistant Louise Capell, paramedic Sophie Hudson, Charlotte Pickwick, Stuart Pickwick and emergency call taker Claire Smalley outside Brackley Ambulance Station

“It really helps to give closure to the last six months, obviously I was just the patient and I have no recollection of it, but my family and friends have been through one of the most traumatic times we could imagine,” she said.

“But what can you say to someone who has saved your life? Thank you doesn’t seem enough, we’re just immensely grateful.”

Charlotte, 41, suffered the cardiac arrest in the middle of the night after celebrating Christmas Day with her husband and two children at their home in Brackley.

Stuart rang 999 as soon as he realised his wife was not breathing and was talked through CPR by call handler Claire Smalley at around 2.15am.

He said he ‘went into auto-pilot’ listening to the instructions, while his son Sam, 14, woke up and helped by opening the front door for the ambulance team of Sophie Hudson and Louise Capell.

The mother-of-two’s heart was shocked backback to life with a defibrillator but she suffered another cardiac arrest on the way to the Horton General Hospital and two more in A&E, but miraculously survived all four.

Stuart said he was only able to process how serious the situation when he had handed over Charlotte’s care to the ambulance crew.

“It was only when I went into the kitchen with our children that it dawned on me what happened,” he said.

For the medical professionals who played such a major role in saving Charlotte, getting to meet her and see her make a full recovery was very rewarding as they usually do not get the opportunity.

Clinical operations manager Danny Hone, who arrived on the scene after the ambulance, said he was proud of his staff and so pleased to meet the couple.

“It’s moments like this that make you feel like you have earned your month’s salary as you realise how crucial your training and knowledge is – this is why we joined the ambulance service,” he said.

Six months on, Charlotte is back to normal other than some memory loss and is now providing CPR and defibrillator training, as well as raising money for more of the life-saving devices in Brackley.

“Having been a nurse for 22 years, you think things like this happen to other people, not yourself, so I feel very lucky that my amazing husband knew what to do,” she said.

“But it’s shown just how important it is to know how to do CPR so that inspired me to start doing the training and to get more defibrillators.”

For more information about the Heartstart training, click here.