TWO children have thanked the four police officers who saved their grandmother’s life against all odds.
Christine Palmer, 58, of Stromness Road, Southend, was told she had more chance of picking the winning lottery numbers than surviving her heart attack, which she only did, thanks to the police officers and a whole lot of luck.
Christine collapsed in the back of a taxi in Bellevue Road, Southchurch, and her heart stopped beating for 30 minutes – but she had the help of passing police officers, the only mobile CPR machine in the county in the patch at the time, and the excellent work of surgeons at Basildon Hospital to keep her alive.
Her daughter Clare Palmer, 32, from The Grove, Southend, who was with her mum when she collapsed, said: “I’m overwhelmed by what the police have done. I’m still numb and can’t get my head around it.
“I didn’t think my mum was going to come through. They called the countdown to pronounce she had died twice. But she came through.”
PCs Sharon Blaxland and David Gardiner, who is also a volunteer for St John Ambulance, were driving past at the time of Christine’s collapse and stopped to help.
They called for back-up from Sgt Tracey Butt and PC Nikki Cornish with all four officers providing CPR to try to save Christine’s life.
Even an off-duty paramedic was passing the scene and stopped to help officers perform CPR. Christine’s family now want to trace the male paramedic and thank him to.
Her chances of survival increased when more paramedics arrived at the scene with a Lucas machine – a specialist piece of equipment which automatically gives perfect CPR compressions.
There is only one in the county and it is based on the Essex Air Ambulance, which just so happened to be at Southend Hospital at that time.
Christine was brought back to life, but then had to be rushed to Basildon Hospital where doctors found her arterywas completely blocked and fitted her with a life-saving stent.
She was in a coma for two days and then put in an induced coma twice so her body could recover.
She finally returned home on Monday after a 13 day-ordeal.
All four police officers, who are with the Shoebury neighbourhood policing team, are now in line for a chief constable commendation and were presented with flowers of thanks by Christine’s grandchildren, Chelsea, 11, and Leah, aged six, yesterday.
Clare added: “I feel eternally grateful to Tracey and her team.
She’s had the best care – the Queen wouldn’t have got that treatment.”
Christine's sister-in-law, Sam Clark, 41, of Moseley Street, Southend, who is a first responder, said: “I knowhow difficult it is to have a success with CPR.
For it to happen and there be no brain damage is nothing short of a miracle. Too many things came together that day to say it wasn’t her day to go.
“People moan about the police, but I can’t fault them, and Tracey in particular. It’s great they have been commended.”
Sgt Butt said her team were thrilled to find out Christine had survived after keeping in touch with the family.
She said: “You get involved in lots of things in your service and unfortunately often people don’t survive, certainly in these circumstances.
“But the chances of having a heart attack in the back of a taxi, with your family, and a police car just happened to be passing, back-up was available, and the air ambulance in the area, with the only Lucas machine in Essex, it’s just surreal.”
PC Gardiner added: “It’s a great feeling to know we saved her. I don’t feel I did anything unsual, it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time.”