Charity founder steps in to save man’s life

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 09 May 2014 Updated: 12/05 16:28

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Buy photos » Maggie Underwood. Picture by Ian Dipple (s).

A SELFLESS mother known in Redditch for her charity work has saved a man’s life during a shopping trip.

Maggie Underwood had popped to the borough’s branch of Morrisons when a man collapsed in front of horrified shoppers and his young daughter.

But using the CPR skills she had learned as part of her role in establishing Redditch Heart Safe, which raises money to install defibrillators across the town including one at Morrisons, she was able to get him breathing again before paramedics arrived.

Maggie lost her own daughter Charlotte to sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, prompting the family to start Heart Safe, which included son Craig who tragically passed away just before Christmas last year after suffering a cardiac arrest.

She told the Standard she had placed the man, thought to be in his 40s, into the recovery position and realised he was not breathing so completed three rounds of CPR. She also instructed staff to move his young daughter away from the distressing scene.

“I don’t think I would have known what to do before starting Heart Safe, but I have gone through so many training sessions and I realised straightaway what was happening,” she said.

Maggie said the last time she had attempted CPR on someone was on Charlotte, although distressingly it did not work on that occasion as her heart had stopped.

“It was very emotional and brought a lot of memories flooding back. It has let me believe in the good side of CPR, I know now it can definitely work but with Charlotte it was in vain.

“I had no formal training at that time and was getting instructions over a phone, but this time I’ve had the Heartstart course so I knew what I was doing and how long to do it for.”

Following the incident, which happened about tea time last Wednesday (April 30), the man was taken to hospital where he is believed to be recovering.

“It all happened so fast but it was a nice outcome in the end. I have had contact from a family member of his to say thank you. I am really happy it was me there,” Maggie added.

“It is a fantastic outcome for him and his daughter. While I was doing it I kept thinking of his little girl, I was telling him ‘don’t you leave that little girl’. It was an extremely emotional day.

“I hope he makes a wonderful recovery and wish him all the best.”

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service praised Maggie’s ‘quick thinking’ actions.

“Every second is vital when trying to save someone’s life and by starting to treat the man, she put all of her training to perfect use,” he said.

“We would encourage anyone who can to undertake first aid training, as one day it could be your turn to save a life.”

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