A 44-year-Carrick woman who survived a cardiac arrest is supporting British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland’s Christmas campaign.
Lisa Collins, a mum of three, was shopping with a friend in 2014 when she began to feel unwell with chest pain and pain in her right arm.
Her worried friend phoned for an ambulance and Lisa was rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital where she suffered a cardiac arrest.
Lisa said: “It was just a normal day out shopping with my friend when I felt this terrible pain in my right arm that went across my back and down my left arm.
“In hospital, they sent me for a chest x-ray then wheeled me back to the ward. The next thing I can remember is I woke up hearing someone screaming.
“I didn’t realise at the time that person was me. I’d had a cardiac arrest and my heart had stopped before I was defibrillated. I didn’t realise what had just happened to me.
“Shortly after I heard a doctor close by on the phone talking about a female patient who had had a cardiac arrest and could go again at any time and I can remember thinking to myself ‘that poor woman’ having no idea he actually meant me.
“My former husband and three kids came rushing up to the hospital and I think at that stage it hit us all what had just happened. I had actually died and been brought back to life.”
A few days later, Lisa was fitted with two stents in one of her coronary arteries before being released from hospital.
Lisa’s life was saved by a portable defibrillator, developed by Professor Frank Pantridge funded by the BHF charity and the fitting of two stents, a procedure also developed with the help of BHF research.
Lisa continued: Now I do my best to stay as healthy as I can. I haven’t smoked since the day it happened.
“It makes every Christmas even more special knowing that we spend it together as a family when I could have been dead. Thanks to BHF research I was given a second chance.”
For more informationabout BHF’s campaign, go to bhf.org.uk/northernireland