Brought back to life

“I will never forget Sharon and will be forever thankful”

The grateful words of Jim, who was dead for nine minutes.

This is the heart-warming moment when a Glasgow patient was re-united with the nurse brought him back from the dead after nine minutes.

Jim Houston, 78, from Milngavie made a special trip back to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to meet Sharon Marshall, the nurse who saved his life through CPR following a cardiac arrest.

At the time, Jim was being cared for by Sharon in Ward 4, where he was being treated for kidney problems.

Sharon, 27, said: “I was talking away to Jim and he was saying he was felling unwell. My colleague Liz and I were in the room when he told me he thought he was going to be sick. I turned around for a sick bowl and when I tuned back he wasn’t breathing.

“I started CPR right away and Liz maintained his airway. I was doing chest compressions and we just kept going, checking every few minutes if he was breathing. Nobody agreed we should stop. You never know if it’s going to get someone back but eventually he started breathing again after nine minutes. By that time there was a full cardiac arrest team in the room with us. Jim was then taken to Intensive Care.

“When Jim was back we were all elated. It was a colleague’s birthday after midnight so we cracked opened the fizzy water and had a wee toast to him.”

For the next month, Jim was nursed back to health, firstly in Intensive Care and later in a renal ward. During that time, Sharon, who has only been a nurse for just over a year, made regular visits to see him.

Jim said: “Sharon came to see me a few days later and I couldn’t remember what had happened. We were both very emotional in the ward – it’s true to say the tears flowed.

“I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Now I’m a bit stronger I wanted to come back and thank Sharon. Nobody really gets to see the good that goes on in the NHS. I got to see the NHS at its best – at the coal face.

“I will never forget Sharon and will be forever thankful. As you get older you think that maybe there won’t be the same effort to ‘bring you back’ in these circumstances. But the doctor told me I have a strong heart so I have made a good recovery. How could you forget someone who has done this for you?”

Dr Chris Deighan, chief of medicine said: “When someone has a cardiac arrest, the faster they are resuscitated the better and the more likely they are to make a full recovery in the longer term.

“James’ excellent progress is down to the quick thinking and skills of the nurses involved in this emergency situation and they should be proud of their actions. Unfortunately CPR does not always have such a positive outcome.

“I am delighted that James continues to make such a good recovery and that he took the time to come back and thank us for his care.”

Jim showed his thanks to Sharon recently by presenting her with a lovely bunch of flowers and a gift card, which at first she thought she couldn’t accept.

Jim said boldly: “Oh yes you can – I’ve done my homework you know! I asked your bosses and was told you could. I want you to have it.”

Sharon then gratefully accepted Jim’s gift and said: “We will always have a bond between us – Jim has a special wee place in my heart now!”

Photo of Sharon and Jim courtesy of the Daily Record.