Harrogate woman who saved husbands life calls out for mandatory CPR training

A call for CPR training to be compulsory in schools and workplaces has been made by a North Yorkshire woman whose kiss of life saved her husband.

Monday, 20th February 2017, 4:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:08 am
Jovan and Carolyn Bjelan who is calling for more CPR training in schools and workplaces.

Carolyn Bjelan saved her 55 year-old husband Jovan's life using CPR after he suffered sudden heart failure while performing DIY at their home in Harrogate.

She explained how an emergency training course helped her jump into action and perform CPR until Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) medics arrived on the scene.

Carolyn said: "I was upstairs and heard a loud thud and when I found him I thought he must have fallen off the ladder.

Jovan Bjelan being treated before being airlifted by Yorkshire Air Ambulance

“When I realised he wasn’t breathing there were a few seconds when I panicked and thought I can’t do this, but then the training kicked in and I knew I had to act quickly.

“I started CPR and rang for the ambulance putting them on speaker phone. I knew time was so important as the longer the brain is starved of oxygen the greater the chance of brain injury.

“I’ve been a Brownie leader for years and having worked in construction too, I’ve always kept my first aid training up and had done CPR refresher training just a month before this happened. If I hadn’t Jovan might not be here."

Although revived Jovan awoke agitated and was placed in to an induced coma by medics before he was flown to Leeds General Infirmary and fitted with an internal cardiac defibrillator.

Jovan Bjelan being treated before being airlifted by Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Looking back Carolyn admitted how traumatic the incident was for herself and her 34 year-old daughter Danielle, who was at the house during the incident, but regular CPR training had meant she was prepared.

Carolyn said: “I did suffer post-traumatic stress afterwards and I did get some help.

"But we have amazing family and friends who were just fantastically supportive and Jovan is absolutely fine now.

“I do feel really strongly that CPR training should be much more widely taught in workplaces, in the community and in every school. We need to raise more awareness about the importance of having these skills.”

Doctors believe Jovan’s sudden heart failure was due to him being one of more than 620,000 people in the UK who have an inherited a faulty gene.

Camera crews captured the dramatic incident for the UKTV series Helicopter ER, which follows the life-saving work of Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

The rapid response emergency charity serves five million people across Yorkshire and carries out over 1,250 missions every year.

However this means the YAA needs to raise £12,000 every day to cover these costs, and has recently rolled out two new state-of-the-art Aurbus H145 helicopters to replace its older aircraft.

Abby McClymont, YAA Director of Marketing and Communications, said: “Carolyn did an incredible job in a situation none of us would want to find ourselves in.

"This just shows the true value of people completing and keeping up to date with CPR training or even basic First Aid.”