Former chairman’s life saved thanks to ‘the miracle on Eastgate’

Pauline and Stuart Watson.
Pauline and Stuart Watson.

A former Mayor of Louth has praised the local community for coming together to help save her husband’s life - after a medical emergency which left him with a less than two per cent chance of survival.

Pauline Watson, who has served on Louth Town Council since 1999, has spoken of the horrifying moment that her husband, former district council chairman Stuart Watson, 73, collapsed on to her and slumped to the ground in Eastgate shortly after midday on October 29.

Stuart’s collapse, which was later revealed to be the result of a cardiac arrest, left him clinically ‘dead’ for several minutes - with just a 1.35 per cent chance of survival.

But, thanks to the quick thinking and cooperation of several observers in the street, Stuart’s life was saved - with no long term ill-effects.

Pauline told the Leader that, having screamed in panic and alerting several people nearby, an unknown man approached Stuart and carried out CPR on him for four minutes - the start of a sequence of events that led to his life being saved.

Pauline said: “We have been able to say thank you to everybody except for the CPR man who kept going for four minutes - an incredible feat.”

Meanwhile, an employee at the Job Centre heard Pauline’s screams of distress and activated the nearby public defibrillator, which automatically sent out an alert message to the nearest LIVES First Responder - who happened to be Asa Blackburn, a butcher at Lakings just a few yards away.

Asa used the defibrillator to restart Stuart’s heart, before Stuart was transported into a road ambulance and taken to Louth County Hospital where an Air Ambulance was waiting on standby if required.

Ultimately, it was deemed too unsafe to transport Stuart in the Air Ambulance in case his condition deteriorated, so he was taken by ambulance to Lincoln County Hospital.

Pauline followed behind in a separate ambulance - not knowing whether her husband was alive or dead in the vehicle in front.

When Pauline arrived at the hospital, she was stunned to see that not only was Stuart alive, he was already sitting upright in a hospital bed and was able to talk, interact, and remember things as usual.

Pauline said: “I was just so shocked, I couldn’t believe it. I just said to him: ‘What the hell are you doing?’

“He was all wired up, but he wasn’t even laid down - he was already sitting up in the bed!

“The first thing he said to me was: ‘Well, we can still go on our holiday on Friday!’”

Following scans and investigations at the hospital, it was determined that Stuart had suffered a cardiac arrest - as opposed to a heart 
attack - meaning that his heart had suffered no lasting damage in the incident.

Stuart had an operation a few days later, when he was fitted with a cardiac resynchronisation therapy device, which acts as a pacemaker and defibrillator, and he is now recovering at his Louth home.

The Watsons would like to thank everyone who played their part in saving Stuart’s life against all odds - which Pauline has described 
as ‘the miracle on Eastgate’.

• Pauline and Stuart would like to thank the mystery ‘CPR man’ in person for his actions which helped save Stuart’s life. Call them directly on 01507 607815 if this was you.