Letchworth ‘Lazarus’ saved by NHS nurses returning from dinner in ‘miraculous coincidence’

PUBLISHED: 13:07 24 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:55 16 May 2020

70-year-old Fred Dyke shares the story of the 'miraculous coincidence' which saved his life. Picture: Supplied

70-year-old Fred Dyke shares the story of the 'miraculous coincidence' which saved his life. Picture: Supplied

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A Letchworth man had his life saved last month after a “miraculous coincidence” saw four off-duty NHS nurses deliver emergency CPR – after he suddenly collapsed in the town centre.

Fred's hero nurses, from left to right: Donna Skilton, Julia Earl, Jo Moir, Fliss Fuller. Picture: SuppliedFred's hero nurses, from left to right: Donna Skilton, Julia Earl, Jo Moir, Fliss Fuller. Picture: Supplied

Fred Dyke, who lives in Letchworth, now wants to extend a heartfelt thank you to the “Charlie’s Angels” who saved his life that evening.

Fred, 70, had been out for a meal in the town centre with his wife and a friend, and was walking back to his car parked on Leys Avenue. However, as they were passing the Wynd, Fred suddenly collapsed and his heart stopped beating.

“In December I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, which is a condition of the lungs,” Fred told The Comet. “I suddenly lost oxygen and couldn’t breathe. I went down like a sack of potatoes and hit my head on the floor.”

But in a “miraculous coincidence”, moments after Fred hit the floor, four off-duty NHS nurses happened to be passing by – having just returned from dinner at the Cultivo Lounge.

Fred's hero nurses, from left to right: Donna Skilton, Julia Earl, Jo Moir, Fliss Fuller. Picture: SuppliedFred's hero nurses, from left to right: Donna Skilton, Julia Earl, Jo Moir, Fliss Fuller. Picture: Supplied

The nurses quickly administered emergency CPR while an ambulance was called, and on the second time trying, Fred regained consciousness.

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Hero nurses Donna Skilton, Julia Earl, Jo Moir and Fliss Fuller became close friends working together in critical care at Addebrookes, 19 years ago.

Fliss Fuller, now a sister at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, said: “We worked together for many years, and despite moving on to work in different places we have remained close friends and stayed in touch.

Fred's hero nurses, from left to right: Donna Skilton, Julia Earl, Jo Moir, Fliss Fuller. Picture: SuppliedFred's hero nurses, from left to right: Donna Skilton, Julia Earl, Jo Moir, Fliss Fuller. Picture: Supplied

“On that night, we were having a little reunion, as we hadn’t been all together for two years. We had been out for dinner and were walking back to our cars when we saw Fred lying on the ground.

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“We are all advanced life support providers and instructors so our teamwork and training kicked in. We were so relieved that we were able to help and resuscitate Fred. We are delighted to hear that he is doing well, and send our very best wishes to him and his family.”

Jo and Donna continue to work at Addenbrooke’s as cardiac nurse practitioners, while Julia has moved to Surrey, and continues to work on the frontline in NHS hospitals there.

Fred was discharged from hospital the following morning and continues his recovery. Once the lockdown is over, he hopes to meet the hero nurses who saved his life.

“It just shows you that nurses are never off-duty,” Fred says. “It’s a 24/7 job. To all intents and purposes, I was dead. My heart had stopped beating. They called me Lazarus, because I came back from the dead.”


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