A grateful Burnley grandfather has thanked the nurse who saved his life when he collapsed and stopped breathing during a school governors’ meeting.
David Etherington fell ill at the meeting at Lowerhouse Junior School, Burnley, just before Christmas. Cardiac registered nurse and fellow governor Kate Caine resuscitated the granddad of one and stayed with him until an ambulance arrived.
Retired teacher David (73), whose 10-year-old granddaughter Hannah is a pupil at Lowerhouse, said: “I would like to thank Kate for everything she did for me. It is all a bit of a blur and I don’t really remember what happened but if she had not been there to help me the outcome could have been so much worse.”
David’s grateful wife, Barbara and daughter Jan sent flowers to mum-of-two Kate while David, who was diagnosed with a serious viral stomach infection, spent a week recovering in Blackburn Royal Infirmary.
Modest Kate, whose two daughters Millie (10) and eight-year-old Ruby attend the school, said she simply acted on instinct and her professional training kicked in.
She said: “As a coronary care nurse I am used to dealing with situations like this but it has never happened to me before out of work.
“David said he was leaving the meeting as he felt poorly and needed some air. I could see he looked very unwell so I followed him out and that is when he collapsed and stopped breathing.
“Luckily I was able to resusciate him so by the time the ambulance arrived he was breathing again.
“I am just so happy David is ok and is on the road to recovery.”
A colleague of Kate’s at East Lancashire Health Trust was so impressed with her heroic effort she nominated the school to receive a defibrillator in a competition run by Merseyside firm Concept Hygiene and it won.
The nomination for the £750 machine was made by Mrs Jane Butcher, winter workforce resilience manager for ELHT. She said: “What Kate did was fantastic and it deserves recognition. Without her quick reaction and skills who knows what would have happened to David.”
Headteacher Mrs Claire Holgate and her staff were celebrating news of the win this week as plans were being made to fund raise to buy a defibrillator.
And it is also poignant as two pupils at the school suffer from heart problems and Mrs Holfgate herself suffered a cardiac arrest in 2012.