Point Control staff help save colleague's life

Jez Abbott
Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Staff at trade finisher Point Control Print Finishing have been praised for their quick thinking after one of their colleagues collapsed while having a heart attack.

When machine operator Tony Klopotwoski had a heart attack at work, two of the firm's seven employees, business development manager Julie Leishman and machine operator apprentice Tom Berwick, both St John Ambulance-trained first-aiders, sprang into life-saving action.

When 57-year-old Kloptwoski collapsed in late August, Point Control managing director, and father of Tom, Richard Berwick rushed to Leishman.

“Richard came into my office just after 9am and said Tony was struggling and it looked serious,” Julie Leishman recalled.

“I headed to where Tony had collapsed in the warehouse and shouted for Tom Berwick to help in case we needed to carry out CPR. When we got to Tony he was very disoriented and distressed.

“I suspected he was having a heart attack and Tom and I worked together to get Tony into the ‘W’ position – sitting with back supported and knees tucked up, to ease the strain on his heart.

“I rang 999 and gave as much information as I could to the dispatcher: we’re a small team and quite close knit so everyone wanted to help.

“We covered Tony with a blanket and fleece to keep him warm while a colleague ran to a company on the estate that has an automated external defibrillator (AED).”

When paramedics arrived they quickly confirmed Leishman's suspicions Tony Klopotwoski was having a heart attack and he was taken to Blackpool’s Victoria hospital where he underwent surgery.

Julie said: “Tony was taken away by ambulance at around 10.20am and by midday he was out of theatre having had surgery to put a stent into a heart valve.”

Leishman added the company had been talking only days before of the possible need to have more mobile phones on the shopfloor in case of emergencies.

“And having staff trained in first aid is very important: whether it's in the home, the street or workplace, you never know when those skills may be called upon.”

Both Leishman and Berwick undertook training with St John Ambulance, which involved a three-day course on how to deal with emergency situations.

“It’s important to keep calm in an emergency and being trained gives you the confidence to act quickly to do what needs to be done,” said Leishman.

Tom Berwick added: “I was a bit nervous when Tony collapsed as we weren’t sure what we were going be faced with.

“But once you have the first-aid skills, it’s instinctive to help and it really can be the difference between life and death.”

Klopotwoski, who is on the road to recovery and called in to see his workmates recently, agreed: “It really highlights the importance of first-aid skills.

“Without Julie and Tom knowing what to do and getting help fast, I might not be here to tell the tale. I can’t thank them enough.”

Leishman is now involved in a scheme to raise funds from neighbouring companies to install a communal AED machine that can be accessed quickly and easily in emergency situations.

Point Control Print Finishing in Accrington, Lancashire is predominantly a book binding outfit, running Muller Martini PUR and hotmelt technology, folders and drilling equipment.

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