A MOTHER has launched an appeal to track down a passenger whose quick action helped save her life after she collapsed with a heart problem on a city centre bus.
Sue Rees wants to thank the stranger for carrying out CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) on board the No.45 Lothian Bus at Leopold Place around 6.30pm on January 28 as she was travelling home from work.
Recalling the dramatic incident Mrs Rees, 57, said: “I was on my way home and feeling a bit tired. I was going to be getting off the bus at Leopold Place to switch buses and the next thing I knew there were paramedics leaning over me trying to wake me up.
“I was told that before the paramedics arrived someone had tried to revive me. I had absolutely no recall of this. But this person undoubtedly saved my life.
“I had never had anything like this ever happen to me before, it came totally, totally out of the blue.”
“I’m a retired first-aider myself and I know it takes courage to get up in front of a bus full of people and started doing CPR. Obviously they put me in front of how they felt. I just to thank them and let them know I’m OK.”
Mrs Rees, who works as a civil servant at the Registers of Scotland, was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where she spent a week being treated for a condition known as Torsades de pointes which involves disruption to the beat of the heart. She also suffers from primary immune deficiencies which means the body has difficulty fighting off everyday infections.
While she was recovering in hospital Mrs Rees, who cares for a disabled son, began to think about the repercussions of what might have happened if the stranger had not intervened on the bus.
“I am divorced and the main carer for my son who is 31. He lives with me and is dependent on me.
“My daughter helps out and there are some support workers but the whole incident made me think ‘oh my god, what’s happened? If I’d not survived what might have happened to my son?”
After she returned home, Mrs Rees contacted the Scottish Ambulance Service and Lothian Buses to help her find the first-aider put both told her they were unable to pass on any information.
David Clark, chief executive of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, said: “The first five minutes after a cardiac arrest are what makes all the difference so it’s vital that as many people as possible learn CPR.
“Scotland has just launched a national strategy on cardiac arrest, a key part of which is to train half a million people in CPR and save 1000 lives by 2020.”