Lifestyle

I died for 18 minutes but my kids brought me back to life

A DAD who died 18 minutes after his heart stopped says he owes his life to his children.

Stuart Waters, 48, suffered cardiac arrest while driving.

Stewart Waters with his children Sadie and Jude who saved his life when he went into cardiac arrest in his car

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Stewart Waters with his children Sadie and Jude who saved his life when he went into cardiac arrest in his carPhoto credit: SWNS
Stuart becomes unresponsive behind the wheel. He was told he had a one in ten chance of survival

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Stuart becomes unresponsive behind the wheel. He was told he had a one in ten chance of survivalPhoto credit: SWNS

He had driven his children Sadie, 10, and Jude, 7, back from soccer practice on the evening of March 1.

Suddenly he felt ill and stopped responding.

His children were the only ones there who took action and ran to get help.

Stuart said: “The police officer there at the time said that in this situation the odds of surviving were one in ten, but luckily I was the one.

“It’s never something you want to show your kids but it’s a very proud moment – obviously for the wrong reasons – but I’m so proud of them and couldn’t ask for better kids.

“At the end of the day, they helped me save my life, so I owe them a lot.

“I don’t think the kids really realize the full extent of what happened. They just did what came naturally to them, but I think deep down they know what an incredible thing they did.”

Recalling the horrifying moment when her father went into cardiac arrest, Sadie said: “Before it happened, Dad said ‘Oh no, it happened again’, which we didn’t know, so Jude stayed in the car.

“I was confused but also scared at the same time because I didn’t know what was going on or what to do, so I just ran to the house and started knocking on the door.”

Jude continued: “Sadie ran to the door to get mum who was in the bath and I stayed in the car to see if dad was ok but he didn’t answer.

“I was really confused because I didn’t know what happened, scared and a little bit sad.”

In the car, Jude took the initiative to unbuckle his father’s seat belt.

Ms Leanne, 38, pieced together what had happened.

She said: “I ran out to get help and two ladies, Emma and Gemma, came out. They got Stuart out of the car and did CPR in the street.

“Then the emergency workers came and everyone worked on him forever.

“They wanted to put him in a coma and take him to King’s College Hospital in London because he wasn’t reacting the way they hoped.

“But they put him in the back of an ambulance and continued to work on him when they took him to Pembury Hospital.”

Around 30,000 cases of cardiac arrest occur outside of a hospital setting in the UK each year, says the British Heart Foundation.

Unless the heart is kept going with CPR or restarted with a defibrillator — found in public places — patients can die in minutes.

Only one in ten people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Leanne said: “They weren’t sure what was going to happen over the next few days because his brain ran out of oxygen and they were worried about brain damage.

“Fortunately, the scans showed everything was fine and it would only take a little while for his memory to return.”

Despite the fact that Stuart had said, “Oh no, it happened again,” he suffered his first cardiac arrest that day.

He was legally dead for 18 minutes.

Stuart was in the hospital for eight weeks and had a mini-defibrillator in his chest to prevent another cardiac arrest.

He has since returned home and is in his fifth week of recovery, as cardiac arrest and its effects on the brain can have long-term symptoms.

The former truck driver lost his license due to his condition, but has been told there will be another job for him when he is well enough.

On May 22, Police Officers Sgt. Joe Breen and PC Steven Shipley presented Sadie and Jude with a school team certificate of resilience for their bravery.

The family thanked all the helpers on the day of the incident.

Stuart said: “A big thank you goes to the neighbours, particularly Emma and Gemma who provided CPR and to our other neighbors who helped.

“Thanks to my wife and children, the emergency services, work has helped me and also the football team, as has the Skinners’ Kent Primary children’s school.”

The signs of cardiac arrest – and what to do

Cardiac arrest usually happens without warning. When someone is in cardiac arrest, they suddenly collapse and:

  • will be unconscious
  • will not respond and
  • will not breathe or breathe normally – not breathing normally may mean they are making wheezing noises.

Without immediate treatment or medical care, the person will die.

If you see someone in cardiac arrest, call 999 immediately and begin CPR.

Learn how to do CPR on the British Heart Foundation website.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/5506209/i-died-18-minutes-my-kids-saved-life/ I died for 18 minutes but my kids brought me back to life

Sarah Y. Kim

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