A teacher who collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest, slipping into a coma for six days, has told how his life was saved by a defibrillator.

Dad-of-two Paul Williams had just finished teaching a guitar class at Abbey Gate College on Saighton Lane when his heart suddenly stopped.

Fortunately he was spotted by school staff members Janet Leach and Andrew Austen, who rushed to his aid with a life-saving defibrillator and were able to shock him back to life.

Paul, 34, was then rushed to the Countess of Chester Hospital where his condition was so serious he remained in a coma for six days.

Following tests it emerged that Paul had been born with a rare and serious heart condition Brugada Syndrome.

He said: “It came as a huge shock as there were no warnings before it happened. It was literally like someone had pulled out the plug. It was very traumatic.”

Abbey Gate College in Saighton Grange, Chester, where Paul Williams took ill
Abbey Gate College in Saighton Grange, Chester, where Paul Williams took ill

Paul has now paid tribute to quick-thinking Janet and Andrew and the school, which has had three defibrillators since 2013, saying he would not be alive today if it were not for their intervention.

He said of the incident, which happened on November 6: “I don’t really remember it happening – it’s all a bit of a blur.

“I cannot thank the people enough who helped save my life. If they hadn’t spotted me and been so quick and had the confidence to put their training into action I would not be here. It’s as simple as that.”

"It's a matter of life and death..."

The guitar teacher is now re-cooperating at his home in Bagillt, Flintshire, and will have to undergo regular tests for the rest of his life.

Medics have fitted him with a implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) – a pager-sized device similar to a pacemaker.

Paul now feels he has a responsibility to make sure others are as lucky as he was and the lifesaving defibrillator is on the premises to save their life.

“This cannot happen to anyone else. I don’t want a child to lose their father like my two girls very nearly did. It is a matter of life and death.”

He is backing charity SADS UK Big Shock Campaign to put automated defibrillators in schools.

Deputy headteacher of Abbey Gate College Gavin Allmand said: “Everyone at Abbey Gate College would like to wish Paul all the very best with his recovery. We are glad that we were in a position to act promptly and appropriately and that the time and effort put into the College’s Critical Incident Planning paid off.

“Staff members with first aid training were able to use one of the college’s defibrillators, which had been donated by, and from, the College’s Founders Fund, and everyone at Abbey Gate is incredibly grateful for their foresight.”

If anyone would like to know more about putting a defibrillator in their school they should contact Anne Jolly at SADS UK on 01277 811215.

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