A South Shields family have been reunited with the ambulance crew who gave them precious extra days with their father.
Retired HGV driver Jim Stephenson was at home when he collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest. His wife Brenda called 999 immediately.
Quickly on scene were a team of five North East Ambulance Service crews, including Hazardous Area Response Team paramedic Ben Dixon and emergency care assistant Tiffany Collinson.
The crew performed CPR and shocked Jim four times with a defibrillator. He regained consciousness and was taken to South Tyneside Hospital.
Sadly, Jim took a turn for the worst in hospital and passed away 10 days later.
But Brenda and her family were so impressed with the standard of care Jim received they have donated £300 to the North East Ambulance Service Charitable Trust Fund.
Brenda, son Jimmy and daughter Karen have now been reunited with Ben and Tiffany to thank them for their outstanding care.
Jimmy said: "Everything was a rush and we didn’t really get the chance to say 'thank you' at the time.
"They all worked on my dad for about an hour or so, they just wouldn’t give up on him. We were blown away by their determination, professionalism and compassion and they kept us informed all along.
"You watch on television programmes but when you see it in front of your eyes, you don’t realise how skilled they are.
"We only got another 10 days with my dad, but we were all able to sit in hospital with him for those days laughing and joking with him, days we wouldn’t otherwise have had. I’m sure if my dad had made it through he would have been the first through the door to thank them."
HART paramedic Ben added: "When I arrived Jim was in bed but looked terrible. He then made a slight recovery and began to talk for a minute or so before having a seizure like episode and then went into respiratory and cardiac arrest.
"The incident was quite a complex resuscitation but having so many NEAS staff on hand and working together gave Jim the best possible chance.”
Tiffany added: "It was a high for us when we heard he was up and about because, unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen with cardiac arrests but we had worked together as a team really well.
"Jim was an absolute fighter. It’s very sad to hear that he didn’t make it through but I think they are incredibly brave for coming to see us and it’s really appreciated.
"I think it is very generous of the family to donate £300 to NEAS, I know it sounds cliché but we were just doing our job."
The North East Ambulance Service Charitable Trust Fund receives donations and legacies from patients, members of the public and fundraising initiatives throughout the North East and exists to support the work of the Trust. The Trust has used funds in the past to provide additional equipment for community first responder schemes and improving the working environment for ambulance staff.
Chairman Douglas Taylor said: "We are always grateful to receive donations from patients and members of the public and are thankful for the donation received from the Stephenson family.
"The Charitable Trust Fund exists to support the work of the Trust and we are currently looking to raise funds to extend the coverage of community based defibrillators, develop and equip our community first responders and establish a cadet scheme for young people."
All donations and legacies received by the Trust, from members of the public, are safeguarded by the Trust's Charitable Funds Committee to ensure they are used and allocated in the way the donor intended. Donations to the North East Ambulance Service Charitable Trust Fund can be made here.