Castleford NHS worker saves grandma's life with CPR after her heart stops beating for 20 minutes

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A grandmother was left lying in the street after her heart stopped beating for 20 minutes.

It was only due to the quick thinking of an NHS worker from Castleford who performed CPR that she survived.

Ricky Horton, 29, works for the health service driving around Yorkshire collecting blood samples.

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He’s not a frontline health worker but his resolve was put to the test when he stumbled across grandmother Josie Cox, 68, who had collapsed.

Ricky Horton who saved a woman's life by performing CPR. Picture Scott MerryleesRicky Horton who saved a woman's life by performing CPR. Picture Scott Merrylees
Ricky Horton who saved a woman's life by performing CPR. Picture Scott Merrylees

Ricky, from Beech Crescent, said: “It just happened one driving through Market Weighton and came across what looked like a coat on the floor and thought 'that's odd'.

"Then I noticed it was bigger than a coat and curiosity got the better of me. I went to have a look and realised it was a lady face down on the floor unconscious, with no pulse.”

Alongside three women – Helen, Summer and Emma – who were passing by, they called the emergency services and followed the instructions from the call handler.

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Ricky said: “Reactions kicked in and we put her in the recovery position.

Andrew Cox's son Noah, 11, and mum JosieAndrew Cox's son Noah, 11, and mum Josie
Andrew Cox's son Noah, 11, and mum Josie

"We gave CPR for 10 to 15 minutes until the emergency service got there. They took over supplying oxygen, CPR and used a defibrillator to try to bring her back round.

"I didn't think she would make it, it looked to me like she was too far gone.

“It was a shock for me. Although I didn't know what I was doing I was trying my best and following instructions.

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“It was scary, I'm not going to lie, being thrown into that situation, but with adrenaline running high, instincts kicked in and we acted accordingly rather than running away.

“After everyone left I was kind of left on my own just wondering what went on – I was in shock and just drove back to work”

After the ambulance left Ricky was left unaware of what happened to the woman he helped.

He said: "After I got home I was just hoping I'd done enough and second guessing if I could have done more.

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"But I did what I needed to do and she either survived or she didn't. I didn't know how long she was there before I found her.”

Meanwhile Josie’s son Andrew, 45, received a phone call from his dad saying his mum had what they thought was a heart attack.

Andrew said: “When I answered he didn't speak. I could hear background noise. I could hear words like ‘CPR’ and ‘resuscitation’.

“I live five minutes’ drive away and when I got to the scene there were three ambulances and a couple of police cars.

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“She was in an ambulance but I was none the wiser if she was OK or not."

At Castle Hill Hospital, in Cottingham near Hull, it was confirmed Josie had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Andrew said: "We followed to the hospital and the doctors explained she was critical but stable in a coma and said she likely had no heartbeat for between 15 and 20 minutes.

“They said CPR had been performed, a defibrillator had been used, and she had an operation to put a stent in.

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"After that it was just a waiting game. They explained that to be without a heartbeat for 20 minutes is ‘not an insignificant amount of time’ and there could be complications.”

Eventually Josie came round and was discharged from hospital after a week.

Andrew said she was battered and bruised but otherwise in good health.

When thanking medical professionals leaving the hospital he was told how important the efforts were of the people who helped his mum on the street.

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He said: “They said thank whoever it was who performed CPR – it allowed her to get oxygen to the brain while she was unconscious and didn't have the ability to breathe by herself.

“Without that you wouldn't be looking at the same outcome even if she survived, they told us.”

Through the police Andrew was able to get in touch with Ricky.

Andrew said: “I think I had something prepared to say thanks – but I just blurted out how grateful we were.

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“The reality is there are no words to express how grateful you are.

"We are so grateful for Ricky and the other women – the gratitude I have for them is the same as Ricky.

“I can imagine another situation where there weren’t people there to do what they did, or where people couldn't bring themselves to try to help or think it's a lost cause.

"My mum was lucky. She had a couple of broken ribs from the CPR, which in the grand scheme of things is absolutely fine.

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"When I see her now, notwithstanding the bit of bruising, it is as if we were in the days before it happened.”

Josie is yet to speak to Ricky but intends to reunite when she is back to full health.

Ricky and Andrew hope their story will encourage more people to undertake CPR training.

Andrew, who runs a sports advisory business and is a former managing director of sports analytics firm Opta, has CPR training.

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And Ricky has suggested it should be offered to everyone at his work.

He said: "It's a happy ending after all that but I wanted to say how important it is to know CPR because it can save a life.

"You see all those adverts about CPR and it’s not just a gimmick, it's something that should be taken seriously because someday you might be in that position and then you’ll know what you're doing.”

Andrew said: “I think that, 100 per cent, people should get the training. I am first aid trained and I'd like to think I could step up but until you're in the position you don't know.

"But having that training gives me confidence in the worst case scenario.”

The British Heart Foundation and NHS have advice on CPR.