Patient reunited with off-duty nurse who saved his life while on the school run

Date: 11 April 2023

Sam Moynes with Geof Turner

A pensioner whose heart stopped for 10 minutes has personally thanked the off-duty nurse who helped to save his life after she found him collapsed while she was on the school run. 

Geof Turner had just arrived at Swingate Primary School in Lordswood, to collect his granddaughter when he suffered a cardiac arrest close to the school gate.

Sam Moynes, who works as Senior Sister for Medway NHS Foundation Trust’s Acute Response Team, was walking towards the school to pick up her daughter when she spotted Geof on the floor and a member of the public about to put him in the recovery position.

After rushing over to help, Sam discovered Geof had no pulse and started chest compressions. It then became a team effort between Sam, other parents and school staff to save the pensioner’s life and protect his dignity.

The mum of two said: “The first parent on the scene called for an ambulance and two parents ran to the school office and brought back an automated external defibrillator (AED) after I asked them to go and see if they had one.

“The school’s first aider and another parent helped to deliver chest compressions before and after I used the defibrillator to deliver the first shock. Meanwhile, the school’s caretaker found some tarpaulin for people to hold up to protect young eyes from seeing the traumatic scene, and parents and pupils were diverted through another gate to maintain Geof’s dignity.”

After 10 minutes of working on Geof, Sam gave him a second shock just as the paramedics arrived on the scene, and thankfully, he regained a pulse. He was given oxygen and an ECG was carried out before the ambulance took him to Medway Medway Maritime Hospital where he was admitted on to the coronary care unit for investigative work.

Sam added: “At first, I couldn’t believe I was delivering chest compressions while on the school run. It all happened so quickly and I am glad my brain entered work mode.

“I will never forget feeling Geof’s radial pulse once we got him back. I was so happy that he had survived and regained consciousness. It really is thanks to everyone’s efforts that he is still alive.”

On Thursday 30 March both Geof and his daughter Emma Turner were able to thank Sam personally for saving his life after they were reunited on the unit where he is being cared for.

Geof, 69, who was down from Stafford visiting his daughter and grandchildren when the medical episode happened on Wednesday 22 March, said: “It’s hard to express your feelings when someone saves your life except that I am obviously very, very grateful. I’m most fortunate that Sam was there at the right place at the right time.”

The last thing Geof remembers is approaching the school gates, then absolutely nothing.

He said: “There was no indication of pain, there was no racing heartbeat, nothing at all to tell me there was a problem and the next thing I knew I was lying in hospital with a mask over my face wondering what on earth had happened.

“The more people that learn CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), better chances it gives to people like myself who are totally unaware they have a problem and end up being confronted with something which can kill them.”

Mum of three Emma, who lives in Lordswood and works as a Podiatry Team Leader for Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “My gratitude cannot be put into words. It takes a lot of courage to recognise and respond to an unexpected medical emergency in front of you. I am very thankful that Sam and the other parents and school staff, were able to work as a unit to focus on what needed to be done. It’s amazing what people who don’t know each other will do in a critical emergency to help someone.

“Sam’s bravery to start the lifesaving CPR and operate the defibrillator is commendable and it was lovely to meet her and thank her in person for what she did. Both my brother and I, and our families are very grateful. It is because of everyone’s efforts that my dad is still here with us.”

Jayne Black, Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is a truly remarkable story that helps highlight the importance of people learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation - also known as CPR.

“Well done to Sam and everyone involved with saving Geof’s life. You are all heroes.”

Watch a video of Geof, Sam and Emma here.

  • Summary:

    A pensioner whose heart stopped for 10 minutes has personally thanked the off-duty nurse who helped to save his life after she found him collapsed while she was on the school run.