LIFESAVER: Chesterfield teen helps bring bingo worker back to life

Paramedic Jason Riches, Sonia Burton, Rosie Priest and Stephen Eke. Picture submitted.
Paramedic Jason Riches, Sonia Burton, Rosie Priest and Stephen Eke. Picture submitted.
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A first-year student paramedic has told of her joy at making ‘the biggest difference’ after she helped bring a woman back to life.

Eighteen-year-old Rosie Priest, of Foxbrook Drive, Walton, was one of four medics who worked to get bingo worker Sonia Burton breathing again.

The mum-of-four had no pulse for almost an hour as Rosie and the rest of the lifesaving team repeatedly performed CPR after she suffered a massive heart attack at her workplace.

Rosie, who is training to be a paramedic at the University of Teeside, was on placement when she and her mentor were called to the urgent incident at the Gala bingo hall in Ashington, Northumbria.

Rosie said: “I got a rush of adrenaline and we were at the scene in about five minutes.

“I administered a lot of CPR, we shocked her several times with a defibrillator and gave her eight doses of adrenaline both inside the bingo hall and on the way to hospital.”

By the time they arrived at hospital, Sonia was still unconscious but had started breathing after 56 minutes.

The 50-year-old was later taken to another hospital where she underwent life-saving surgery to have a stent fitted in her heart.

Eight days later, Sonia was back home being cared for by her brother and four children – before being reunited with Rosie and her other lifesavers.

Rosie said: “She was so grateful to us.

“To think I’ve helped save somebody’s life and make the biggest difference is quite surreal – I can’t get my head around it! It’s made my desire to do this job even stronger.

“I’ll never forget what happened on my first call-out.”

She added: “All my friends and family are really, really proud of me. They say what I did was amazing.”

Sonia said she remembers nothing about the day itself – other than seeing her late husband John while she was unconscious.

“He told me ‘no not yet, I need you to get back for the kids’ – that’s the only thing I can remember,” she said.

“It’s strange to think I was technically dead for an hour. If it wasn’t for the guys being there so quickly and not giving up on me, it would have been a very different story. My mind is a bit forgetful and I’m on a lot of medication but otherwise I’m doing really well.”