Expat in UAE gets life-saving help from bystanders after heart attack

Published:  24 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, England
A UK expat in Abu Dhabi would have lost his life due to cardiac arrest if knowledgeable bystanders hadn’t rushed to help after calling emergency medical care professionals.

UK expatriate architect Leigh Lenaghan collapsed in an Abu Dhabi car park after suffering a heart attack, but quick action by bystanders saved his life. One started CPR whilst others called the ambulance service as well as applying an external defibrillator to detect his abnormal heartbeat and shock it, thus restoring its natural rhythm and blood flow to his brain.

After 10 nerve-wracking minutes, the ambulance arrived and rushed the expat to a nearby hospital’s cardiac catheterisation department where he underwent stenting and an angioplasty. As a result, his artery was unblocked and normal blood flow was restored. According to the cardiologist who operated on him, this was Leigh’s lucky day, as the type of severe heart attack he’d suffered is known locally as the ‘widowmaker’.

The hospital’s interventional cardiologist praised the quick-thinking bystanders, saying the ambulance would have been too late if they’d not intervened. Leigh has now made a complete recovery, although he’s still suffering burns to his legs caused when he collapsed onto the red-hot concrete floor of the car park. He told local media he’d never imagined he’d have a heart attack, even although he’d felt slight twinges in his chest for a while, believing they were simply indigestion.

He’s now committed to a far healthier regime including regular health checks, exercise, stopping smoking, reducing his stress levels and attempting to live a balanced lifestyle. Turning his near-death experience into a positive attempt to rebalance his life ensures he’ll never forget the kindness and swift action of strangers without which he wouldn’t have recovered.
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