A football fan has described the Arsenal glory she “expected to see” when her heart stopped beating for nearly half an hour before a match.
Louise Higgs, 59, went into cardiac arrest in August 2022 at her home in Angel as she was getting ready to go to the Emirates Stadium.
She was saved by paramedics from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) who were able to restart her heart after more than half an hour of CPR.
Speaking about what happened to her that day, Louise joked: “When I died, it’s not like I wanted to see green fields and gambolling sheep, but at least I expected to see Arsenal winning the Champions League.”
Her miracle vision may yet come to pass, as Arsenal are currently top of the Premier League after their best ever league start, and on course for a place in Europe next season.
Louise’s mum, Joan, contacted the ambulance service to thanks those involved in her daughter’s resuscitation and the family has since met the crews in an emotional reunion.
Joan said: “I am beyond grateful that these amazing people saved my daughter, my family.
“I lost my son 13 years ago and one thing’s certain, if Louise hadn’t survived, I would have died too.”
After Louise started struggling to breathe, her mum immediately called 999 as an operation on Louise’s spine in 2017, which left her limbs paralysed, meant her airways were already compromised.
Paramedic Ellie Varouhakis and trainee Rachel Walters were first on the scene. They started delivering CPR but called another crew for back-up as they wanted to be careful not to damage Louise’s neck further.
As paramedics William Dickinson, Katherine Anderson, and Rory Saggers arrived to continue treatment, Louise’s heart started to beat again.
She was treated at University College London Hospital for four weeks, and at St Thomas’ Hospital for a further three weeks before she was discharged.
Trainee assistant ambulance practitioner Rachel Walters said: “It’s surreal to see Louise alive, well, talking, in the very room where she died a few months before.
“We got her back to the place where she was before the cardiac arrest: enjoying life with her mother. Her recovery has been incredible and this fills me with joy.”
Chief paramedic Dr John Martin said: “We are all incredibly proud of the teams who helped to save Louise, and I am delighted they found an opportunity to be reunited.
“This is a powerful example of the difference our staff make every day and the care they provide to Londoners.”
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