A 20-year-old woman who used life-saving skills she had seen in a TV advert to bring her step-father back from the brink of death so his loved ones could say their final goodbyes has received a top award.
Ellen Crow, who was 19 at the time, performed CPR on her step-father Stephen Lindeman after he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at their home in Stowmarket earlier this year.
Drawing on some CPR training and advice over the phone from the ambulance service, quick-thinking Ellen also remembered a British Heart Foundation TV advert starring Vinnie Jones in which the Hollywood hard-man performs the life-saving procedure to the song ‘Stayin’ Alive’.
She managed to get his heart beating again but sadly Steve, 51, suffered a hypoxic brain injury (when the brain does not receive enough oxygen) and died in hospital nine days later.
Ellen’s actions though allowed his family to say their final goodbyes to him and she has been awarded a Royal Humane Society resuscitation certificate after a recommendation from her uncle.
Her mum Tracy, 51, said: “I can never thank her enough for what she did. Ellen was so brave - I don’t know what I would have done faced with that (situation).
“She gave all of us the chance to say goodbye to him and come to terms with it.
“He was with her and he wasn’t on his own.”
Steve, who was from King’s Lynn and moved to Stowmarket after meeting Tracy, was a learning disability nurse and had been working with people suffering with mental health issues at Fulbourn Hospital, near Cambridge.
He had a genetic heart problem and had to have heart surgery in April last year. He recovered well and returned to work in July.
A month later he developed a serious knee infection which led to 13 weeks in hospital and several operations including the removal of his knee joint.
The infection cleared and he was due to have surgery to put back the knee joint on February 23.
However, on February 16 he collapsed at their home, in Kite Crescent.
Luckily, Ellen had decided to stay at home that day to recover from an illness rather than return to university.
She said: “I was waking from my sleep and I could hear Steve saying my name. I thought I had better go to check because he wasn’t steady on his feet at the time.
“I saw him collapsed on the floor. I didn’t know where to start. He was losing colour and was really hot and clammy.”
Ellen called the ambulance service who soon advised her that she would have to perform CPR.
“I had done my training a couple of years before. It’s not something I felt overly comfortable doing really. The man on the phone explained it to me, I said okay and went straight to work.”
To find the right CPR rhythm, she thought of a British Heart Foundation advert starring former footballer and actor Vinnie Jones.
“He does CPR to the song ‘Stayin’ Alive’ and it’s something that stuck in my head. At that point it was the only thing I could think of.”
Steve was flown by air ambulance to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital but never regained consciousness and passed away on February 25 after suffering a hypoxic brain injury.
Tracy, who been with Steve for four years and was married to him for three years, said: “He was just such a lovely man who was really well loved.
“He was a really kind soul, his face just made people’s hearts sing and he was loved in his profession.”
Steve had three children and two step-children.
Following Ellen’s actions, she was put forward for the award from the Royal Humane Society by her uncle Doug Loyal.
In his recommendation, he said: “Had it not been for Ellen’s quick thinking and her actions, Steve would have died at home on his own, and none of the family would have been able to see him to say their final goodbyes.”
Ellen was presented with the award during her mum’s birthday celebrations with family and friends recently.
Ellen, who is studying to become a barrister at Brighton University, said: “I’m completely overwhelmed by it and it wasn’t something I expected. It’s such an honour.
“Steve always used to say I could do anything I could put my mind to. He was always my number one supporter.
“Even on the day when I didn’t know whether to go back to Brighton or stay at home, he said ‘just do what you think is right’. That’s turned out on multiple occasions to be the right thing to do.”