Local family thanks life-saving college staff

Published on: Tuesday, 5th February 2019

A West Hallam man and his family have returned to Derby College to thank the staff whose quick thinking saved his life.

Neal Hodkinson (58), his wife Carole were with their 16-year-old son Michael at an enrolment session at the Roundhouse Technical and Professional Skills college in Pride Park in August when Neil suffered a cardiac arrest.

Construction Teaching and Learning Coach Michael Grange – a trained First Responder with East Midlands Ambulance Service - was nearby and rushed over to do CPR.  Colleague Craig Tansley meanwhile fetched the defibrillator, which are installed at all College sites, and they were able to re-start his heart before paramedics arrived to take him to the Royal Derby Hospital.

Mr Hodkinson is now on the road to recovery and he and the family recently returned to the Roundhouse for a celebration lunch at the Engine Shed restaurant to thank everyone involved.

They also learnt that they would be offered the chance to learn the CPR skills which were so crucial to his survival at free first aid sessions run by the College’s Roundhouse Thinking commercial training division.

Mr Hodkinson, who works for Nottingham City Homes, said: “If it wasn’t for the skills and quick thinking of Michael and colleagues I wouldn’t be here now.  I consider myself very lucky that I was at the Roundhouse.  If I had been anywhere other than the College, I would not be here now.  I am also so thankful that the College has defibrillators in place at all its sites.  Since the cardiac arrest, my own workplace now has this vital equipment readily available.

“Carole and I now plan to contact other local venues, businesses and organisations to ensure they have them on site too.”

He continued: “I started feeling ill when Carole and Michael were sorting out the enrolment and when I got what felt like electric shocks going off in my head I tapped her on the shoulder and said ‘I’m in trouble’.  That’s the last I remember until I woke up in the ambulance.  Tests are ongoing and I have a defibrillator fitted into my heart.  However, doctors can’t give me any answers about why this happened at this time.”

Mrs Hodkinson continued: “I saw Neal slump back in his chair and screamed for help. Michael started CPR and I was looked after by other staff who were marvellous and very reassuring.  It was a horrendous experience but we are doing well now as a family.

“It has been wonderful to come back to College to thank everyone involved and we are further grateful for the chance to learn CPR and first aid skills so we would be better prepared to help someone else if this happened to them.”

Michael Grange said: “I obviously know the signs of a cardiac arrest so was able to react quickly to the situation. Having handed Neal over to the paramedics I went back to enrolment but I am so relieved that he has recovered well and can now get on with his life.”

Derby College Head of Inclusion Sarah Le-Good, who has been in regular contact with the family since the incident, concluded: “This has been very traumatic for everyone involved and it was lovely to see Neal looking fit and well.

“It is important that everyone has – even the basic – first aid and CPR skills and I am delighted that our Roundhouse Thinking team has been able to offer members of the family with this free training programme.

“This will not only teach them vital skills but also help them to better come to terms with what they have been through.”

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