Ilkeston woman who had heart attack at age of 23 owes life to partner and pet dog

Joanna Mellor, her boyfriend Andrew, and dog Leo. She had a heart attack in the middle of night, Andrew was able to call an ambulance after being alerted by the dog.
Joanna Mellor, her boyfriend Andrew, and dog Leo. She had a heart attack in the middle of night, Andrew was able to call an ambulance after being alerted by the dog.

An Ilkeston woman who suffered a heart attack at the age of just 23 said she wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for her pet dog alerting her boyfriend.

Joanna Mellor, of Hedingham Close, suffered the cardiac arrest in her sleep on January 10 when her heart stopped for between 30 and 40 minutes.

Her boyfriend, Andrew Rayment, was alerted by their Labrador Leo, when he would not settle. Andrew called 999 and was talked through how to carry out CPR until paramedics arrived 15 minutes later.

Joanna, who works as a beauty therapist in Ripley, said: “I had got back into bed after getting up for a drink. Andrew said that Leo then got up and wouldn’t settle, that’s what alerted him and he realised I was making funny noises. He nudged me and shook me to try and wake me up.”

Andrew then called 999 and was advised to get Joanna on the floor and give her CPR.

Joanna has since been told that her heart stopped for between 30 and 40 minutes but because of the CPR pumping her heart oxygen was still getting to her brain.

She was taken to the Queens’ Medical Centre in Nottingham where doctors did all they could to keep her alive.

She said: “It was really scary because they gave me lots of drugs and had to use the defibrillator. My chest was hurting afterwards.

“Andrew told me that if Leo hadn’t have got up and alerted him he would have woke up to me dead next to him.”

Joanna has since been diagnosed with the condition Wolff–Parkinson–White, which she was born with. It caused palpitations and an irregular heartbeat. She has since had keyhole surgery and is back to full health with plans to return to work on Monday.

Joanna spent two and a half weeks in hospital and said she does not remember anything about that night.

She said: “I can’t remember being in intensive care, I just remember waking up on a ward. What happened still doesn’t sink in.”

She has thanked the paramedics who helped her on the night.

East Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic, Glenn Radford, said: “I’ve been on the job for 14 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. When people suffer cardiac arrests, quite often they are left with neurological problems. They don’t usually make a 100 per cent recovery.”

Joanna and Andrew have even told their story on Good Morning Britain and Leo has become somewhat of a star and continues to be spoilt.