Lab worker Paul saves nurse’s life at Leeds hospital

Medical laboratory assistant Paul Joyce with nurse Rachel Moore.
Medical laboratory assistant Paul Joyce with nurse Rachel Moore.
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A laboratory assistant at a Leeds hospital became an unlikely life-saver himself after springing into action to rescue a nurse choking on food.

Paul Joyce was the hero of the lunch hour at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital when nurse Rachel Moore began choking on an egg wrap in the staff canteen.

The lab worker, from Wakefield, had been buying a drink when he heard a colleague’s cry for help and rushed over to deliver blows onto Rachel’s back.

When that didn’t work, he switched to abdominal thrusts which finally managed to clear the blockage and Rachel swallowed the offending piece of wrap.

Paul, who knew what to do after receiving basic life support training (BLS) through work, said: “It happened so quick. I think it was just basic instinct really. I gave her a couple of slaps on the back and then said I’m going to do abdominal thrusts - I think I was just trying to calm her down more than anything. It seemed to clear it. I’m just glad she was ok.”

Rachel, of Rothwell, said: “I was on my afternoon break, enjoying some late lunch, eating an egg wrap and suddenly a piece of the wrap got stuck in my airway and I began to choke. I initially could cough so I tried to shift it myself but couldn’t. It got to the point where my cough reflex stopped. It was very frightening. Our Sodexo manager saw I was in distress and called for help.”

She added: “I was very sore but so grateful I was okay. What could have been a disaster was averted, just by simple first aid. I want to give a big thank you to Paul for helping me.”

Hospital director Andy Eadsforth added: “All credit to Paul on this one – he reacted quickly and effectively to help a colleague. Delivering basic life support training to all staff is a significant investment for Nuffield but it’s great to see that it’s equipping people with life skills that can be used in situations both inside and outside of work.”