A GARAGE in Abingdon has taken customer service to the next level – they now save people’s lives.
When 84-year-old Bill Bingham went in to Hurley Motors on Radley Road to take his car for its MOT, he did not expect to be leaving in an ambulance.
But thanks to the quick actions of staff, his wife says, his life was saved.
Mr Bingham, a retired teacher of Isis Close, Abingdon, took his Citroen BX in for its annual check-up on Monday, July 14, and sat down to wait in reception.
Suddenly he turned to 18-year-old receptionist Tom Porter and said: “Can you please get me a doctor?”
MOT tester Alan Halls rushed in, took a look at Mr Bingham and said: “I don’t think he’s long for this world.”
Mr Halls, a 56-year-old father-of-two, said: “I stood in front of him, and he ‘died’.
“He went grey, he was stone cold, and I couldn’t find a pulse anywhere. He’s been coming here for years. He’s a nice chap.”
Mr Halls said the receptionist had called South Central Ambulance Service and was passing on instructions. He said he laid Mr Bingham on the floor and held his head while mechanic Lloyd Lamothe started compressing his chest.
Mr Halls said: “I thought we had lost him.”
Then, to their amazement, colour began to return to Mr Bingham’s face. Suddenly, the reception area was filled with paramedics and the air ambulance crew.
Mr Bingham was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, still unconscious.
Mr Bingham’s wife of 49 years, Di, had gone on a holiday to North Wales the day before.
She said she had spoken to her husband in the morning and he had said he was going to the garage.
Bill Bingham with wife Di
The next thing she knew, hotel staff were telling her to ring the JR.
The couple’s daughter Fiona, who lives in Radley, arranged for friends to drive the four-and-a-half hours to North Wales, pick up Mrs Bingham and bring her back to Oxfordshire that night. They arrived at the John Radcliffe at 3.30am.
Doctors said Mr Bingham had not had a heart attack but an arrhythmia – an irregular heartbeat – and the hospital gave him a pacemaker.
He was finally allowed to go home on Wednesday night.
Mrs Bingham said: “If it hadn’t been for Hurley Motors he would have died. I just wanted to say thank you. This is really service of a special kind.”
Mr Bingham said: “It’s nice to know garages not only help repair cars but also human beings.”
The couple, who have two children and two grandchildren, moved to Abingdon from Marlborough 10 years ago to be closer to their daughter.
Mark Ainsworth-Smith, consultant pre-hospital care practitioner for SCAS, said: “The swift action by these people at the scene is a great example of how prompt and effective bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can help a patient who is having a sudden cardiac arrest in the first few crucial minutes before frontline ambulance crews arrive on scene.
“We would encourage people to undergo CPR training and to be aware of where the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED) is so that they can use one to assist those in emergency situations.
“Our AED locator app is available which shows where your nearest AED is. For more information, go to startaheart.nhs.uk”
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