Heart attack victim Keith Fletcher thanks Rochdale Exchange team for saving his life

Date published: 21 November 2017

Keith Fletcher has thanked staff at Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre for saving his life by using their defibrillator to revive him after he had a heart attack.

The 67-year-old retired engineer took his usual weekend trip to the town centre when he fell ill at the store on Yorkshire Street on Saturday 30 September.

He explained: “I am a keen football fan, so I was visiting the bookmakers to place my bet on the upcoming game, when I suddenly fell off my chair having the heart attack.

“Before the incident, I was not feeling unwell or in any pain and I had even walked around Hollingworth Lake twice that morning, like I do every day, so it was a shock when I woke up in Fairfield General Hospital to find out I had had a heart attack.

“I was recovering at Fairfield for around two weeks and was then transferred to Manchester Royal Infirmary for a number of blood transfusions before finally being allowed to go home on the 22 October.

“After being discharged from hospital I went back to the bookmakers, as I had no idea what had actually happened that day, and they let me know that it was the team at Rochdale Exchange that had helped to save my life.

“I then met with Mark, Tony and Raja from the shopping centre and I could not show my appreciation to them enough for all the help they gave to me by keeping me alive until the emergency services arrived.”

Mark Bleasdale, Assistant Guest Services Manager of Rochdale Exchange, said he was glad to hear that Keith had made a full recovery. He added: “We were asked to assist with a first aid incident at the bookmakers, and even though the betting store is not part of the shopping centre, we naturally agreed to help.

“Security officer Tony Kemp attended the bookmakers before requesting the defibrillator. I immediately went out to the store to find Keith in the recovery position and not breathing.

“Whilst I prepared the equiment, Tony gave Keith CPR and another security officer, Raja Tariq, spoke to the emergency services.

"After using the defibrillator, we managed to keep him breathing and his heart beating until the ambulance arrived.

“Following the incident, we were so glad to hear that Keith was recovering well in hospital and then a few weeks later to see him coming into the centre to thank us was amazing.”

Lorenzo O’Reilly, Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre manager, said he was proud to see the team respond so quickly to such a serious incident. He said: “We give all of the shopping centre team extensive training to be able to deal with any critical incident that may occur in Rochdale Exchange or around the town centre.

“Mark, Tony and Raja did an incredible job giving CPR and using the defibrillator to revive Keith and it shows true testimony to the importance of knowing how to do first aid, especially how to use a defibrillator, as you never know when it may be required.

“It was a real team effort to help save Keith’s life and I am extremely thankful and proud of everyone involved.

“We are pleased to see that Keith has made a quick recovery and wish him the very best, and hope to see him back in the centre soon.”

Keith is back to walking around Hollingworth Lake every morning and betting on his favourite football team. To ensure the risk of having another heart attack is reduced, he is going to be fitted with a pacemaker before Christmas.

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