A Clitheroe midwife has been told her actions were “nothing short of heroic” when she performed CPR non-stop for 40 minutes on a woman who had suffered a massive heart attack.
Quick-thinking Susannah Kerr (37) was in the right place at the right time when she jumped straight into action to save the life of much-respected Joan Moore, whose heart stopped for eight minutes.
Now, the duo want 2018 to be the year more people learn life-saving First Aid skills.
Joan (70), who works at Pendleside Medical Practice reception desk, Clitheroe Health Centre, was on her way home from work when she collapsed.
Mother-of-one Susannah, happened to be walking her dog when she found an unresponsive Joan on Castle View and ran to the rescue.
“Joan was collapsed and there were two men nearby with one of them calling the ambulance.
“I got on my knees and checked for Joan’s breathing and pulse, but she had no pulse.
“I feared the worst, but had nothing to lose and immediately began CPR.
After performing 30 chest compressions to two rescue breaths twice, Susannah felt she needed help.
“She asked one of the bystanders to call her daughter, Ebony, from her mobile. Ebony (19), who is studying to qualify as a mental health nurse, was on the scene within minutes and began helping with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
“I kept thinking she can’t die on me. I have to bring her back to life,” said Susannah. It was then another local woman, Lisa Greenwood, pulled up and asked if she could help. Susannah asked her to go find a defibrillator. Ten minutes later Lisa arrived back with one.
“The instructions were self-explanatory and so we asked everyone to stand clear as we tried to revive Joan. We shocked her twice, but still no response. At this stage we were getting tired, upset and wondering why the ambulance was taking so long to arrive, but we continued with the chest compressions.”
Susannah and Ebony continued to perform CPR until the paramedics arrived and rushed Joan to hospital for treatment.
Susannah, who qualified as a midwife in 2007, said she knew her job was done when she heard paramedics say Joan had a pulse.
“They praised our efforts and said ‘well done’ before taking Joan to Royal Blackburn Hospital, where she was in an induced coma in the Intensive Care Unit. Days later she was transferred to Manchester Royal Infirmary to have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator fitted.
Now discharged and recovering at home, mother-of-two Joan, said: “I’m doing okay. I’m slightly confused, but very emotional and I have been overwhelmed by the cards and messages of support. I have no recollection of how I collapsed. I just remember I was on my way home from work. “Thanking the women is insufficient as they saved my life. I am so grateful for what they did.
“I do feel strongly that we need enough people to learn how to perform CPR in emergency situations. Susannah, Ebony and Lisa were magnificent. If it wasn’t for them that day, I would be dead.”
Susannah believes the sheer force of her CPR technique probably helped Joan to survive as she was unresponsive for so long.”
Now, she is calling for more and more people to learn the skills.
Susannah added: “It was a very traumatic and upsetting experience for everyone involved. We really didn’t think we would see Joan again, but we are glad she made it.”