Mum of two saved by members of the public after her heart stopped in York

A MOTHER of two escaped death after members of the public came to her aid when her heart stopped as she was driving in York.

Joanne Durkin, 43, from York, collapsed at the wheel in George Hudson Street and her car rolled to a stop, but was helped by passers-by who had watched the incident.

Staff from a nearby Turkish restaurant, Kapadokya, had to smash a window to reach Joanne as her door was locked.

A woman who was Christmas shopping and identified herself as a GP then performed a heart massage until paramedics arrived.

Mrs Durkin has no recollection of the incident but she, husband Patrick, and sons Matthew and Daniel have thanked the heroic members of the public after enjoying a Christmas together that she nearly did not see.

Mr Durkin said: “She was given a blast with the defibrillator and brought back round.

“Her heart stopped again in the ambulance but they started her up again and got her to A&E. She was just so lucky that someone was there at the time to help her.”

Mrs Durkin, a frequent runner who ran the York Marathon in October, was later diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome - an electrical disturbance to the heart and can cause death.

Mr Durkin added said: “It can be classed as instant death syndrome which is quite a scary thing to think about.”

Mrs Durkin has been fitted with an implant with a built-in defibrillator which will restart her heart if it happens again, and is on medication to help control her heart rate.

Mr Durkin expressed his gratitude at those who stopped to help his wife: “We just want to say thank you to them because they saved Joanne’s life. You can’t do anything better than that for a fellow human being.”

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