Man saved by neighbour after suffering heart attack at his Bilton home
THE WIFE of a man saved by the quick action of a neighbour has told the lifesaver: "You've given my children their dad back."
Father-of-two Gordon Starling, 68, suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed after he'd been out gardening at his home in Bilton.
His heart stopped and his neighbour Paul Whittaker, who had learnt CPR on a training course with work, spent 12 minutes battling to bring him back to life.
Now, Mr Starling's wife Valerie has expressed her gratitude to Paul for giving her the chance to see in the New Year with the husband she thought she'd lost forever.
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She said: "We've been with our family over Christmas. My sons have been round and they can't thank Paul enough.
"They've got their dad back.
"He was so level-headed and the way he was able to take over and take control was just marvellous."
Mrs Starling, 64, first realised something was seriously wrong when her husband came into their house, clutching his chest and complaining of pains.
She said: "I went upstairs for some mints and when I came down, he had started to have a heart attack.
"He just sat in the chair unmoving with his eyes open. I thought he was gone."
In a blind panic, Mrs Starling rushed outside and was pleading with her neighbours for help, unaware that Paul had learnt the life-saving skills.
"I managed to get the ambulance service on the phone," Mrs Starling said.
"They started giving me instructions but I couldn't stand to look at him so I panicked and ran next door to tell the neighbours. I said he was dead and Paul just flew past me."
The Northern Powergrid engineer had been given life-saving training at work and dashed into the Starlings' living room.
"I didn't want to go back in but I watched through the doorway," said Mrs Starling.
"He managed to get Gordon going again with what he had learnt at work."
Paul's training took over and once he'd got Mr Starling's heart restarted, he spent the next 12 minutes keeping him alive until the arrival of the paramedics.
"Initially, there were no signs of life but, by the time the ambulance arrived, I had managed to find a faint pulse," said Paul.
"When the paramedics arrived, they asked me to continue with the CPR while they set up their equipment.
"They were then able to use their defibrillator to shock Gordon's heart into starting again."
Although the engineer's quick action prolonged the life of his neighbour, medics were not optimistic. Mr Starling was taken to Hull Royal infirmary for an initial assessment. His condition was so serious, he had to be transferred to Castle Hill, hospital a few hours later. He was in intensive care with suspected brain damage and doctors warned Mrs Starling he might not pull through.
She spent weeks hoping for the best.
"It was touch and go because they didn't know if he had been brain damaged from dying for three minutes," said Mrs Starling.
Three weeks after he suffered the heart attack, Mrs Starling was delighted to see her husband sitting up in his hospital bed eating porridge.
After a period of one-to-one care at home, Mr Starling has made a full recovery.
The hospital operated on him to try to stop it happening again.
"They've fitted him with a defibrillator," said Mrs Starling.
"If anything did happen again, it would give him a blast and get his heart going."
Other families living near the couple's home in Ridgestone Avenue are amazed by what has happened.
The Starlings can hardly believe their luck.
"All the neighbours are marvellous round here," Mrs Starling said. "They say he is a walking miracle.
"I just panicked but, luckily, everything fell into place."
Paul himself is modest about saving his neighbour's life.
"You just do what you have to do," he said.
"Anybody would do the same."