Hero teacher saves dying husband's life
A Rutland teacher who performed CPR to save her stricken husband after he suffered a cardiac arrest is urging everyone to learn life-saving skills.
Michele Smith, 54, has called for adults as well as schoolchildren to be taught crucial first aid after she dashed into action to bring her husband Andy, 57, back from the brink.
She spoke out as shock new figures showed that a staggering 23 per cent of people in the East Midlands wouldn’t carry out CPR if they saw someone struck down by a cardiac arrest.
Michele, of Barleythorpe, said: “I can’t stress too highly how important it is to learn first aid - it really is life and death.
“Thank goodness I had done a course three years earlier when I took students abroad.
“And that training gave me the confidence and know how to save Andy’s life.”
The mum-of-two told how she didn’t think twice when Andy, who ran his own delicatessen, dramatically collapsed as they sat in their living room.
“It happened on April 26, 2012 - the date is engraved on my memory.
“We’d booked a holiday in the Caribbean to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary,” said Michele, who teaches at Southfield School, Kettering.
“I was on TripAdvisor checking out restaurants and places to go.
“I suddenly realised there was no response from Andy - and he’d slumped back in his chair.”
The terrifying drama happened after Andy was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease which makes the heart muscle stretched and taut.
So his heart was unable to pump blood efficiently around his body while he was also at risk of suffering a deadly heart rhythm.
“I slapped Andy around the face but he was completely gone.
“I rang 999 but I couldn’t feel any pulse and I knew straight away this was serious,” said Michele.
“I pushed him to the floor and gave him CPR for eight minutes while talking to the call handler.
“It felt more like eight hours before the first responders and paramedics turned up.”
Andy, who teaches foreign students English by Skype at home, said: “If it wasn’t for Michele I wouldn’t be here.”
“I lost two days of memory after my cardiac arrest.
“The first day I remember is the Saturday.
“That was when I woke up and realised I was sitting in a hospital bed.
“From that moment I knew what Michele had done that night.
“She was sitting with me when I got back in the land of the living.”