Zoe stands next to her dad

Father’s Day is a time for showing your dad some appreciation. But this year, things are quite reversed for Zoe Tootle’s family. After she helped her dad through a heart attack, all the appreciation is going to her.

Zoe recalls how it all happened.

Helping my dad during a heart attack

“I was out shopping with my mum when she received a call from my dad, who said that he had chest pains and was going to go to bed to try to sleep it off,” Zoe said.

“My mum and I returned home as it was very unlike him to contact her due to feeling unwell.

“On arriving home, we found him in bed. His breath was laboured and he was complaining of chest pains. I suspected he was having a heart attack.”

Fortunately Zoe had recently learnt first aid on a British Red Cross course, and had downloaded our free first aid app. She was able to use both to help her dad.

“I immediately sat him up in a comfortable position,” Zoe said.

“I called the emergency services because I knew if he was having a heart attack, he needed help quickly.

“I asked my mum to get an aspirin. I learnt on my course that aspirin can be given to someone having a heart attack, as it thins the blood.

“We told dad to chew the aspirin and explained that this way he would get it into his blood stream quickly.

“I used the first aid app on my phone to ensure that I was asking the correct questions. He complained of dizziness and nausea in addition to the chest pains and I knew he needed to get to hospital quickly.”

When the ambulance arrived around ten minutes later, Zoe explained to the paramedics what she had done.

“They confirmed that my dad was having a heart attack and would be taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital. The paramedics, doctors and consultants all commended the action I took that day,” she said.

Being prepared

Zoe’s dad’s heart attack came as quite as a shock, but because she knew first aid she was able to help him in his moment of crisis.

“My dad is 66 years old, healthy, has never smoked, leads a balanced lifestyle and undertakes regular exercise, yet he still had a heart attack,” Zoe explained.

“Although the emergency services ensured that he was helped quickly, I would like to thank the British Red Cross for giving me not only the skills but the confidence to deal with this situation and ensure that I still have my dad!”

As Zoe celebrates Father’s Day with her dad, she would encourage more people to learn first aid.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course and found it was not only informative, but it gave me the confidence to act in a first aid emergency,” she said.

“The educator Keith was fantastic and although I hoped I would never have to use the skills learnt, I knew that if I did I would be more than ready for it.”

First aid for a heart attack

If someone is having a heart attack, they may have persistent, vice-like chest pain, which may spread to their arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach.

What to do:

  • Call 999 immediately or get someone else to do it.
  • Make sure they are sitting in a position that is comfortable for them (e.g. on the floor, leaning against a wall or chair).
  • Give them constant reassurance while waiting for the ambulance.
  • You can offer the person an aspirin tablet to chew slowly, as this will help thin their blood.

Learn first aid

Take part in learn and share and pledge to learn one simple first aid skill and share it with others. Who knows, you could help save a life.