A well known sculptor presented his own hand-made bronze medals to paramedics who saved his life after he collapsed with a cardiac arrest at Chester Railway Station earlier this year.
Stephen Broadbent, who created the Celebration of Chester sculpture outside the town hall, was unlucky to fall ill but lucky that a paramedic crew happened to be just 90 seconds away, complete with a life-saving defibrillator.
Stephen, 52, from Burwardsley, can’t remember what happened on March 21 except he had been dropped off by his wife Lorraine and was cutting it fine to catch a train to Newcastle-upon-Tyne so was in a rush.
He recalled: “On the bridge over, I collapsed, apparently. There was no indication and no previous concern. I’d had a medical that week and my blood pressure was fine and blood sugar was fine. It was unusual.
“I’m not a keep fit fanatic but I’m active in my work. I don’t really drink and I don’t smoke. I’m not overweight.”
When he asked what caused it, the only explanation given by his consultant was because he was ‘a man over 35’.
“I felt fine before and I feel fine now, physically,” said Stephen. “Mentally you don’t take things for granted, there’s a greater sense of being loved by family and friends.”
Stephen, a father of three grown-up children, understands only 3% of people who suffer a cardiac arrest survive outside a hospital setting.
He wants to support a joint initiative between the NHS and Cheshire West and Chester Council to install easy-to-use defibrillators at city centre locations which shock the heart back into its normal rhythm following a heart attack.
“In the movies you see them give the kiss of life and they come back to life but the kiss of life and CPR just maintains you until you have the defibrillator,” explained Stephen.
“I was very fortunate. I had three paramedics there, right there, three angels really,” added the sculptor, who was reunited with Neil Hayward, Ian Bennett and Dominic O’Donnell, the crew who rushed to his aid from a nearby butty van where they were parked up to eat breakfast.
Stephen’s 26-year-old daughter Lucy, with whom he works, found the whole occasion very moving and kissed Neil and Ian on the cheek for saving her dad. Dominic was unable to be present.
Neil said: “It’s always nice when you can get a positive outcome. Everyone’s a father or a mother or a member of the family.
“It was just a freak occurrence, unfortunately, but it highlights the importance of early CPR and early defibrillation. It doesn’t always work but that’s the gold standard – the best chance of survival.”