Family’s thanks after Irthlingborough father ‘dies’ by road

From left, Liam, Andrew, Le-Ann, Debbie, Frank, Martyn and Kyle
From left, Liam, Andrew, Le-Ann, Debbie, Frank, Martyn and Kyle

A family has thanked the Good Samaritans who helped save a man’s life after he had a heart attack and ‘died’ twice.

Frank Smith was driving to his home in Irthlingborough with his sons, Kyle, 16, and Liam, 14, after visiting his ex-wife Jennifer Godden in Wellingborough when he felt unwell.

Jennifer said: “While at our house, Frank complained of heartburn.

“Driving from Wellingborough to Irthlingborough, Kyle and Liam said he was complaining more and more about his chest.

“The pain was getting worse and he pulled over on a back road to stand outside the car and see if the pain improved. It didn’t.

“As he sat back in the car, Frank suffered a massive heart attack and went into cardiac arrest. Kyle and Liam witnessed their father collapse and turn blue inside the car.

“Both boys were hysterical when they attempted to flag down motorists.

“We are grateful that Le-Ann Craske and her husband Andrew, from Irthlingborough, recognised the boys were in trouble and stopped.

“Another couple, Debbie Britton and Martyn Howe, from Finedon, also stopped. An ambulance was called as the couples got Frank out of the car and lay him on the road to begin lifesaving CPR while they waited for an ambulance. Frank was by this point already clinically dead.”

Debbie and Le-Ann are both trained in CPR and worked on Frank until an ambulance arrived.

Frank “died” once more in the ambulance on the way to Kettering General Hospital and was put in induced hypothermia in the intensive care unit, and there were fears he may have suffered brain damage.

Jennifer added: “We still had no idea if he would survive. Then, just two days later, a miracle. Frank was taken off sedation and out of hypothermia. He was communicating with the staff.

“Apparently his first words were ‘where’s my boys’. Despite being very confused, he recognised us and shook his boys’ hands. A moment we never thought we’d see again.”

Frank has now been discharged from hospital and is recovering at home, and his family have held an emotional reunion with the people who helped to save his life.

Jennifer described Le-Ann and Debbie as “heroes” and said: “Without a doubt Frank would not have survived without their intervention.”

After meeting Frank and his family, Debbie said: “I was amazed at the recovery Frank has had.

“He looked extremely well. We were presented with flowers and met all Franks’s family. It was a lovely day and very emotional.”