Collapsed woman’s life saved by timely knock on the door

Lifesaver Vanessa Welch is presented with a bouquet of flowers by grateful tenant Amanda Sheehan (right).
Lifesaver Vanessa Welch is presented with a bouquet of flowers by grateful tenant Amanda Sheehan (right).

A Worksop woman who collapsed during an asthma attack had her life saved by a visitor who just happened to knock on the door at the right time.

Amanda Sheehan, a Bassetlaw District Council housing tenant, was slumped in her wheelchair, struggling to breathe and in danger of cardiac arrest at her home in Costhorpe.

But luckily, Vanessa Welch, a resident liaison officer with United Living, who were carrying out some improvement work there, turned up for a routine visit.

Although shocked at first when opening the door, instinct kicked in and Vanessa’s actions meant that Amanda is still here to tell the dramatic tale.

Vanessa spoke on the phone to Amanda’s asthma nurse, ensured that Amanda stayed upright, helped her with her medication and made certain she remained conscious before an ambulance arrived.

“I just thought I had to do something,” said Vanessa. “I had to react.

“I did what any caring person would have done. I couldn’t walk away and leave Amanda in that state.

“I did what I could, and I’m thankful that she’s here and thinks I did OK. I’m not medically trained, and I’ve since learned how serious things could have been if I hadn’t walked through the door at that moment.”

In fact, Amanda had already been waiting 40 minutes for an ambulance and was reaching the end of her tether.

She said: “When I have an asthma attack, I can go into respiratory arrest and then cardiac arrest quite quickly. So, it’s a matter of time.

“I had already pushed my limits and gone longer than I ever had without medical attention.

“I couldn’t keep myself upright enough to keep my airway open, and I couldn’t get my nebuliser because it kept falling off my face.

“Even though I was on the phone to my asthma nurse, all that was going through my head was: I am going to pass out and there’s no-one here.

“If I passed out, I would stop breathing, and there was nothing I could do.”

Amanda is convinced that Vanessa saved her life. She continued: “I thought I was going to die, so seeing someone was a massive relief.

“I remember Vanessa saying to me: point to what you need. I gave her the vial that contains my nebuliser solution and gestured to her what to do.

“She made sure that I had back-to-back ‘nebs’ until the ambulance arrived, and the the paramedics took over.

“When I was in the ambulance, I went into full respiratory arrest and they couldn’t find my pulse.

“The ambulance crew said Vanessa had been amazing. I can’t thank her enough because she really saved my life.”

UNITED Living, for whom Vanessa works, is a company that carries out maintenance work and other services for council tenants. And after the dust had settled on her dramatic lifesaving actions, the firm got together with Amanda and councillors to present her with a bouquet of flowers as a thankyou gesture.

Coun Steve Scotthorne, cabinet member for housing, said: “Vanessa showed a great amount of professional conduct in the way she reacted. We are all extremely relieved that the outcome was a happy one.”

Mick Holling, operations director at United Living, said: “Vanessa should be so proud of her response when she was going about her normal daily duties. We thank her for the way she represents our business when she is out in the community.”