Man who had heart attack on train reunited with staff who saved him

A man who collapsed on a train has been reunited with the off-duty hospital staff who saved him – and thanked them for his “second chance at life”.

Philip Le Pere, 54, of Hilda May Avenue, Swanley, was on his way home on a train from Waterloo East railway station in January. As the train left London Bridge railway station, he suddenly collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.

Mr Le Pere said: “I was on my way home from work and going to visit my mum, who lives in Welling.

“I got on the train at Waterloo East and that’s the last thing I remember – the rest is a blur – and I woke up in King’s College Hospital’s Emergency Department.

“Over Christmas I had felt a bit breathless at times and was meaning to speak to my GP, but never got round to it. I don’t remember feeling unwell before I collapsed so it was a shock to wake up in hospital.”

Phillip Le Pere said he has been given a “second chance at life”  (Picture: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust)

Members of staff from nearby Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals happened to be in the carriage, including Jenny Penn, 55, sustainability communications and engagement manager at the Trust, Karen Torre, 35, haemophilia research nurse, and Dee Yissau, 41, education and workforce lead for the London Neonatal Operational Delivery Network.

The women immediately started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Mr Le Pere.

Ms Penn said: “I was on my commute home when I heard someone making very loud noises, then a passenger shouted out that someone was having difficulty breathing.

“I raced to the other end of the carriage and shouted for help in lifting him to the floor.

“In all the commotion it struck me that no one was talking to Mr Le Pere, so I did just this, shouting for him to breathe during CPR.”

Ms Yissau and Ms Torre took it in turns to deliver CPR for more than 20 minutes as the train travelled from London Bridge to Lewisham.

Ms Torre said: “I’ve never had to give CPR outside of a hospital setting, and it felt like a lifetime as the train continued moving to the next station.”

Mr Le Pere was treated at King’s for a cardiac arrest and heart attack. He underwent life-saving heart surgery and had a stent fitted in his heart.

Ms Penn said: “When we were on the train we spotted that Mr Le Pere had a work ID pass for the Met, and through my Neighbourhood Watch community contacts I managed to find out later that Philip had been taken to King’s College Hospital and had survived.”

After spending two weeks in hospital, Mr Le Pere was discharged, and continues taking medication at home.

The group were reunited for lunch at Hay’s Galleria in Battle Bridge Lane, near London Bridge, on June 5.

Mr Le Pere, a photographic technician with the Met, said: “It was great to meet Jenny, Karen and Dee, and to fill in the gaps in my memory.

“I was so amazed to hear what happened. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped me on that train journey home.

“I’m so grateful that I’ve been given a second chance at life.”

Pictured top: From left, Jenny, Karen, Dee and Philip meeting for the first time after the heart attack (Picture: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust)

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