Lifesaver is birthday guest of honour
KEVIN Vickers did not recognise the guest of honour at his birthday party. But it was partly down to ambulance crewman Steve Edwards that Mr Vickers was alive and able to celebrate it.
Mr Vickers suffered a cardiac arrest while he was asleep at home in Northway, Headington, on November 26, 2011.
His wife Sarah realised something was wrong, called an ambulance and performed CPR for 10 minutes until crews arrived.
Among them was Mr Edwards, from Cowley, part of a four-strong team who took care of him and rushed him to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.
Mr Vickers, now 53, said celebrating his birthday at Northway Community Centre marked the start of a second life. The former building site manager said: “Steve and I felt like a couple of Hollywood stars. I was so shocked to meet him and amazed when he turned up.
“It was absolutely fantastic because I don’t exactly remember the first time we met.
“I was in a bit of a coma for three-and-a-half days.”
Mr Vickers said that after his cariac arrest JR medics lowered his body temperature to prevent organ failure.
He added : “My wife and sons were told to think about turning off life support but I came round. When I woke up I was speaking French, and I haven’t done that since I was a schoolboy. It was all very strange.”
Mr Vickers has since made a good recovery and despite being told he might never walk or talk again, can manage both.
Mr Edwards, 43, said: “It was very unusual to get to that stage where I met the person we helped. “That’s the first time I’ve met someone I treated. We just do our jobs, but it was great to meet him.”
Emergency care assistant Mr Edwards, who is based in Oxford, has been working for South Central Ambulance Service for 12 years.
His three colleagues Emm-anuel Gautier, Matthew Winser and Mathew Foot, who also attended the 999 call, could not make it to the party.
Mr Edward’s mother-in-law Diane Mortimer, who organised the get-together said: “It was incredible to see them meet. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
Mrs Vickers, 41, recalledthe night of her husband’s heart attack: “It was terrifying when it happened, and at 4.30am. I was in such a panic but luckily I know CPR.
“I had to get our teenage son Joel to hold Kevin’s tongue so he didn’t choke. He handled it brilliantly though.”
Joel, 17, was at home when his dad suffered the cardiac arrest but the couple said they were glad their eight-year-old son Jaydon was at a sleep-over with friends.
The party, which was attended by 200 friends and family, raised £920 for the British Heart Foundation and the John Radcliffe Hospital.