Two carers have been labelled heroes after their tireless efforts effectively brought a man back to life.
But Carl Lloyd and Sarah Swainston, who work at Middlesbrough Council’s Sandringham House day service, are modest – insisting they were “just doing their job”.
Care assistant Carl had found a young man at the day centre slumped on the floor, unresponsive and not breathing, after he’d suffered a seizure and fell, blocking his airways.
Carl quickly sprang into action – shouting for Sarah and immediately starting CPR.
Between them, the pair worked on the 25-year-old for almost 10 minutes before paramedics arrived on scene, effectively bringing the young man back to life.
“He was just on the floor when I came into the room – I could tell straight away he wasn’t right. He was just lifeless. He looked grey, he wasn’t breathing,” said Carl, 35.
“My training just kicked in, I’ve been on lots of first aid courses and it gets drummed into you so I knew what I needed to do.
“Once I started CPR the adrenaline kicked in. It was about 10 minutes, but time just stretches – it felt like an hour.”
Sandringham House is a supported day service which works with adults who have autism or learning difficulties, and welcomes more than 20 people a day.
Incredibly, the young man saved by Carl and Sarah was straight back into his routine at the centre after a week’s stay in hospital and is now being treated for suspected epilepsy.
“He’s been coming here for about six years, and doesn’t need one-to-one supervision. This was the first time he’d ever been known to have had a seizure,” said Sarah, 43, a Senior Community Support Worker who lives in Middlesbrough.
“I think after Carl had found him, we both just went into autopilot because of our training.
“Carl did a lot of the CPR, he’s very modest but he’s a superstar. Once he was in a rhythm he just kept going.
“A lot of our service users have been with us a long time, we do form strong bonds with them, they’re like family.
“It felt like we were saving one of our own.
“I just knew that I wasn’t going to make that phone call to his mam. We knew we had to keep going.
“It feels amazing that he’s back here now and he’s in his routine again, but we were just doing our job really.”
Both have stressed the importance of learning lifesaving First Aid – and encouraged people in Middlesbrough to take a course, if they can.
Carl, who lives in Hartlepool, continued: “People probably think they’ll never have to use what they’ve learned, but you never know. That knowledge could save someone’s life.”
Margaret Evans, Unit Manager at Sandringham, heaped praise on the pair.
“I’m so incredibly proud of both of them, Carl and Sarah are typical of the amazing staff who work in our service,” she said.
“They’ll probably tell you they were just doing their job – but they’re heroes.”