A RETIRING Stroud paramedic has been reunited with the woman he brought back to life after she ‘died for 15 minutes’.
Mike Merrett, 70, of South Western Ambulance Service team in Paganhill, met up with Mandy Palk at Stroud Ambulance Station, eight months after he helped save her life.
Mike is set to retire after 50 years of serving the community and the reunion was part of a celebration of his career.
The popular paramedic, also known as ‘Magic Mike’ by patients for his heroics over the years, was sent to Mandy’s home in King’s Stanley for what was at first believed to be a bad case of indigestion.
It was actually the onset of a cardiac arrest, but thanks to the prompt actions of Mike and his colleagues, Mandy is still here to tell the tale.
“I’m so lucky,” she said.
“I died for 15 minutes and it took six shocks to get me to come round.”
Mandy called 999 on September 6 last year, after experiencing chest pains and a ‘dead feeling’ in her arms.
It was just four days before her 50th birthday.
Community first responder Russell Cook was first on the scene and began checking her vital signs.
Mandy said: “I was laughing and joking and then, probably 30 seconds after Mike arrived, I went into cardiac arrest, and that was the last I knew.”
Mike and Mandy had been friends for decades, but he said the relationship didn’t affect his ability to do his job.
“It was a shock, I’ve known Mandy for 40 years,” he said.
“But it doesn’t make a difference, you just go into work mode.
“We had to shock her six times, which is quite unusual.”
The survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests is quite low, less than ten per cent.
“It is a miracle she survived really,” said Mike.
Mandy was rushed to Bristol Royal Infirmary and where surgeons fitted a stent in her heart.
She stayed in hospital for almost a week and had to take five months off from her job as a respite carer at Hartwood House.
“I don’t remember much but I heard my daughter Amber saying she loved me,” she said.
To get adrenaline to the heart, Mike and his team had to drill into Mandy’s leg, which she said was ‘more painful than childbirth’.
“I told her I loved her as I thought it might be the last thing she would hear,” said Mandy’s daughter Amber, 22.
“If it wasn’t for Mike and his crew I don’t think she would be here today.”
Mike and Mandy remember the evening of Mandy’s cardiac arrest:
“Mike and the team are our heroes,” said Mandy’s daughter Jay, 28.
Mandy’s health is continuing to improve and she has managed to give up smoking after 35 years.
Mike, described by his colleagues as ‘an inspiration and a ‘much loved’ member of the team, modestly says he was just doing his job.
After meeting up with Mandy and her daughters at the ambulance station, they all went out for a special lunch.
Magic Mike’s retirement celebrations also included a party, thrown for him by his colleagues at Frocester cricket club, complete with an ambulance shaped cake and a vintage ambulance in attendance.
He is a huge Abba fan too, and as a surprise his family took him on a trip to Bristol Hippodrome to see Abba Mania.
Mike’s last shift is set to take place on May 27.
“I think it’s the best job in the world,” he said.
“It’s going to be strange.
“I will miss it tremendously.”
Just 20 years old when he started working as an ambulance driving attendant back in 1969, Mike said he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Dolores and family.
The couple have four children between them and 11 grandchildren.
Plans for the future include more trips away in their caravan, to Devon and Cornwall, and popping over to France to visit friends.