Prompt Action by Passers-by Saves Josés Life After Cardiac Arrest

Update 15 April

We have this morning spoken to Charlie Turner who was one of the first ladies on the scene.  Charlie is a nurse who works at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.  She said “Petra Hughes was the first person on the scene and I was called by a friend to go along and help after my friend and Rachael Dobson and I were walking back from the rugby club.”

Petra flagged down Darren in the Halfords van to help.  Charlie arrived and did mouth-to-mouth on José whilst Darren, the doctor from RBH and the Hampshire paramedic took it in turns to do chest compressions.  Charlie added, “The defibrillator arrived very quickly which was crucial.  Many people don’t survive from this type of cardiac arrest even in hospital.”

Sarah Roberts from Millie’s Dream who installed the defibrillator at Rupert House said, “On behalf of all those involved in the generous donations to provide 67 life saving Defibrillators in and around Henley for our charity ‘Millie’s Dream’ I would like to offer our very best wishes for the speedy recovery of Jose who experienced a terrifying sudden cardiac arrest. Without the amazing support and care of local bystanders alongside the swift use of one of Millie’s Dream defibrillators the outcome may have been very different.

The wonderful outcome of this very frightening event for everyone involved, highlights the necessity for each and every one of us to be aware and confident enough to administer CPR and use defibrillators to maximise the opportunity to save life in such an event.

Millie’s Dream has donated 67 community defibrillators to date with a further 3 due in local villages in the next few months. However whilst this number possible sounds like plenty for a small town such as Henley there are still black spots, where in the awful scenario of a sudden cardiac arrest, a patient may find themselves outside the 8’ time slot necessary for the fitting of a defibrillator for maximising the opportunity for restoration of life. We therefore continue to rely upon the generosity and kindness of local people to donate monies to ensure we may live in a ‘Heart safe Henley.’

Our thoughts are with all the parties involved in this situation. A wonderful result of human kindness in a very difficult scenario.

If anyone would like to become involved in the charity Millie’s Dream or would like to know more about defibrillators and their locations please do not hesitate to contact me personally on


A resident of Bell Street suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed outside the entrance to Adam Court last Saturday evening at around 6.30pm.

José Goumal was returning home after going to Waitrose to pick up a few items and was first found by three local ladies, Rachael Dobson, Petra Hughes and Charlie Turner who immediately called the emergency services.

At the same time Darren Richardson from Luton, stopped in his Halford’s van to help the ladies, parking his van to give protection from oncoming traffic, and started CPR on José. He had basic first aid knowledge and training and wasn’t sure that he was doing it correctly and was pleased when a passing Hampshire paramedic stopped and went to get the Millie’s Dream defibrillator from outside Rupert House School to use and a Radiographer from the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) who was also passing, continued CPR. Darren said, “I wasn’t sure I was doing the CPR correctly, I just kicked into action. I looked at him and could find no pulse, I just knew it was critical and I needed to do it.”

José’s wife, Sam was beginning to worry where José had got to and the worst was confirmed when the police arrived on her doorstep. The emergency services continued to work on José in the ambulance before taking him to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading where he will be having an operation to fit an internal defibrillator and was well enough on Sunday to sit up and eat some lunch, much to everyone’s relief. The doctor in the cardio unit told Sam that his recovery was a testament to the amazingly prompt reaction of the passing members of the public who stopped to help at the scene the moment it happened and started CPR at that critical time.

Alan and Helen Gaynor who live in Bell Street didn’t initially realise that it was José when they saw the man being treated on the floor. When they found out later that José had recovered they tracked down Darren to tell him the good news. Helen said, “It was an amazing public reaction to a serious incident until the emergency services got there. Darren told me that afterwards the three ladies had taken him to the Bull on Bell Street to help him calm down from the shock of the incident. He was ecstatic and genuinely emotional when I told him the good news. He told me he’d tried to find out how José was by phoning around the hospitals in the area but of course no-one could tell him anything and that he hadn’t slept properly since, he was convinced that José wouldn’t make it and couldn’t help thinking whether he could have done anything differently. ”

Sam and José would love to track down the Hampshire paramedic whose help was also critical, to say thank you. Please help by sharing this story to help us find him.  The Herald was delighted to reunite Phillipp Warner with his rescuers Angela and Clint Botha in November 2017 after he fell in the river in his wheelchair. One of Philipp’s wife Ann’s friend shared the Herald story with her on Facebook. Let’s hope the power of the internet helps again.  Please get in touch via

1 comment
  1. wireless waffler says:

    As someone who had a heart attack in 2007, I am pleased to read that another person has survived. If you get sharp pains in the chest, an ache in your arm, chin, pins and needles all over, or pulsing feeling in your veins, then see a GP or call an ambulance it can be a warning. Medication and treatment is so good for heart conditions. Harefield Hospital sorted me out, and ten years on Royal Berks, sorted out my Angina by taking me off the tablets that were supposed to reduce it! A good story handled exceptionally sensitively – well done Henley Herald


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