'I owe her an awful lot' — heart attack victim thanks leisure centre worker

By a County Press reporter

Published on Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - 14:48


'I owe her an awful lot' — heart attack victim thanks leisure centre worker

Lizzie Phipps and Andy Parnell at the Tone Gym. Picture courtesy of Isle of Wight Council.

A HEART attack victim who collapsed after a session at an Isle of Wight gym has thanked a staff member who came to his aid.

Andy Parnell, 53, had just finished a workout in the Tone Zone gym, Westridge Leisure Centre, Ryde, on Wednesday, July 30, when his chest tightened and he had a sudden aching feeling.

Recognising he did not look well, duty manager, Lizzie Phipps, ensured an ambulance was called straight away and that Andy was made as comfortable as possible.

Andy said: "I had just finished my workout when I felt a sharp pain in my chest, however, I carried on not thinking it was serious.

"Lizzie recognised I did not look well and told me to sit down, take it easy and wait for a paramedic. I initially said I was fine and wanted to drive home, but Lizzie told me to stay where I was until paramedics arrived.

"It was the best thing she could have done because unbeknown to me at the time, I was having a heart attack and I dread to think what could have happened had I driven home. I might not even be here."

Andy was taken by ambulance to St Mary’s Hospital where he was then flown to Southampton General for specialist treatment. He has since been discharged and is recovering well.

He added: "The paramedics in the ambulance and the crew on the helicopter said had it not been for Lizzie and her help in recognising the symptoms and helping me, I may not have survived. I owe Lizzie an awful lot and will be forever grateful.

"I also did not realise I was in trouble and it goes to show that whenever someone says you do not look well, you really should listen. It may just save your life."

Andy paid a visit to Westridge today (Wednesday) to surprise Lizzie with a bunch of flowers and to thank her for her help.

Lizzie said: "I do not feel like a hero. I was only doing what anyone else with my training would do.

"I saw Andy did not look well and my first aid training kicked in. I wanted to do everything I could to make sure he was OK before the ambulance arrived.

"Thankfully, he listened to me and I am very pleased he is making a good recovery. His surprise visit to thank me was very overwhelming and made me quite emotional."

Cllr Shirley Smart, the Isle of Wight Council’s executive member with responsibility for leisure, said: "All our leisure centre staff are given first aid training and I am delighted that Lizzie saw there was a problem and was able to help Mr Parnell when he was in difficulty. There is no doubt she helped to save his life. On behalf of the council, I want to thank Lizzie for her actions."

• For a further interview with Mr Parnell, please see the Isle of Wight County Press on Friday, August 8.


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