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Joanne Durkin, 43, saved by restaurant staff and passing GP after heart drama in George Hudson Street
10:26am Friday 27th December 2013 in News
A MOTHER of two was saved by restaurant staff and a passing GP when her heart stopped while she was driving in York.
Joanne Durkin, 43, collapsed at the wheel in George Hudson Street and her car rolled to a stop, but witnesses rushed to help.
Staff from a nearby Turkish restaurant, Kapadokya, had to smash a window to reach Joanne as her door was locked.
A woman who was Christmas shopping and identified herself as a GP then performed a heart massage until paramedics arrived.
Joanne has no recollection of the incident but she, husband Patrick, and sons Matthew and Daniel have thanked the heroic members of the public, after enjoying a Christmas together that she nearly did not see.
Patrick said: “She was given a blast with the defibrillator and brought back round.
“Her heart stopped again in the ambulance but they started her up again and got her to A&E. She was just so lucky that someone was there at the time to help her.
“The car came to a stop with no damage. It’s miraculous really because obviously she just blacked out. She’s been unlucky, but there’s been so much luck involved it’s unbelievable.”
The incident happened on Friday, December 13, and doctors later discovered Joanne suffers from Long QT Syndrome, which is an electrical disturbance to the heart and can cause death.
Patrick said: “It can be classed as instant death syndrome which is quite a scary thing to think about. Ten minutes later she would have been at Stamford Bridge she would have been on a much quieter road and it would have been a much different story. She had just minutes to survive. It was just unbelieveable. She ran the marathon in October, she runs all over the place, she’s as fit as a fiddle. I would have thought there would be more chance of Stonehenge falling over than Joanne falling over.”
Erdal Ozturkce, manager of Kapadokya, was one of the people who helped Joanne at the scene, and was amazed to find out she was well and at home for Christmas.
He said: “Her face changed colour when her heart stopped and we thought she was dead. I’m really very happy she’s okay, it’s really good to hear. I’m really happy she’s alive, because we were really very upset. I didn’t know her at all, but she’s human and young, and it would be very sad for someone to die at Christmas time.”
Joanne has been fitted with an implant with a built-in defibrillator which will restart her heart should this ever happen again, and she is on medication to help control her heart rate.
Patrick and Joanne have enjoyed Christmas together with their sons Matthew and Daniel, and want to thank everyone who helped at the scene, especially the passing GP, believed to be from Liverpool and Christmas shopping in York.
Patrick said: “We just want to say thank you to them. I just want to share our gratitude which is endless, because they saved Joanne’s life. You can’t do anything better than that for a fellow human being.”
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