Dad survives "dropping dead" in front of his children after his heart stopped for 17 minutes

·5-min read
Daniel Turner
Daniel Turner "dropped dead" for 17 minutes on his way home from a christening, pictured with Albie and Oliver (in red). (SWNS)

A dad feels lucky to be alive after appearing to "drop dead" in front of his children when his heart stopped for 17 minutes.

One minute Daniel Turner, 28 from Hereford was singing and dancing in the car with this family, the next he was completely unresponsive. 

Earlier this month (August 14) Turner was travelling home from a christening with his partner Elishia Paxton, 25, and their two children when he suddenly "went floppy".

The friend who was driving quickly pulled over the car in the village of Bartestree - five minutes away from the family's home.

Thankfully an off-duty police officer happened to be passing and managed to contact a paramedic he knew who lived three doors down.

The paramedic and police officer began performing CPR in front of Turner's terrified partner and kids before an ambulance was called to the scene.

Incredibly, paramedics managed to restart Turner's heart using a defibrillator before he was taken to Hereford County Hospital where he began breathing again.

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Daniel Turner and Elishia Paxton with Albie and Oliver (front right). (SWNS)
Daniel Turner and Elishia Paxton with Albie and Oliver (front right). (SWNS)

At the hospital the dad-of-two was placed in a medically induced coma to protect his brain, awaking naturally 20 hours later.  

Having been transferred to Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Friday August 20, Turner is now undergoing tests to determine what caused the cardiac arrest.  

Speaking of the trauma at watching her "fit and healthy" partner flat-line in front of her and their two sons Albie, two, and Oliver, five, Paxton says she's still shocked about what happened. 

"It was so frightening," she says. "To hold someone you love dead in your arms and then to see them awake again is a lot to cope with."

The family had been to Paxton's god child's christening in nearby Tewkesbury and were travelling home when the incident occurred. 

"Although Daniel had been sweating a bit, we just put it down to him running around after the children on the bouncy castle but we now know it was a symptom," she explains. 

"A friend picked us up at 9.30pm and we were all singing and dancing in the car when all of a sudden he went floppy and appeared to drop dead. 

"It was like living in a nightmare, no words can describe watching what happened unfold."

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Turner pictured with his son Albie and partner Elishia Paxton. (SWNS)
Turner pictured with his son Albie and partner Elishia Paxton. (SWNS)

Paxton says after the car pulled over, they got Turner out and she started performing CPR. 

“Luckily, an off-duty police officer knew of a paramedic who lived nearby and thankfully he was home. The officer and then the paramedic continued CPR."

The mum-of-two describes passers-by shielding the car so the children couldn’t see what was going on.  

"I sat there with his head in my hands screaming at him to come back. I was just saying 'come on Dan, come on Dan'," she says of the traumatic turn of events. 

"The ambulance arrived 11 minutes later." 

Paxton describes watching her partner being defibrillated as "the worst thing I have ever seen in my life".

"He still didn’t have a heartbeat," she explains. "He had to be defibrillated four times before they got a heartbeat from him.

"He was dead for 17 minutes before suddenly coming back to life."

The family say there is no history of this sort of thing in the family and Paxton says Turner has always been fit and healthy because of his work as a roofer. 

Watch: The difference between a heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest.

Turner has now undergone an operation to have a transvenous S-ICD implantable defibrillator inserted into his body. 

“The doctors have explained that he has an electrical circuit fault, but they will explain more about that soon and they still don't know what caused it," Paxton explains. 

“Daniel can’t remember anything – the only thing he remembers is sitting in the church on the day of the christening.

“Because he had short-term memory loss, I had to explain what had happened to him and he is a bit numb and emotional at the moment.

“Thankfully his long-term memory has been unaffected, which is something we are very grateful for." 

The family aren't sure how long it will be before Turner can return to work, but Paxton says they are just grateful he is still here. 

"We’re lucky he is going to be able to teach his boy to ride a bike and see his first day at school," she add

"It was like somebody was watching down on us."

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After feeling extremely lucky to have survived the cardiac arrest, Turner now plans to "fully embrace his second chance at life".

Speaking from his hospital bed following his operation, he says: "I can remember everything before that date but nothing between the days of Saturday to Wednesday, its all a bit of a blur.

"I'm so grateful and thankful to my partner Elishia and the by-standers who stopped to support me and her," he continues.  

"Thankfully children are very resilient and it hasn't affected them." 

Daniel Turner recovers from his ordeal in hospital, pictured with his partner Elishia Paxton. (SWNS)
Daniel Turner recovers from his ordeal in hospital, pictured with his partner Elishia Paxton. (SWNS)

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As doctors are still not entirely sure why the incident occurred Turner will have to have genetic testing in the next few months.

In the mean time though he wants to focus on getting home to his family and making memories in the future. 

"I'm fully embracing my second chance at life and looking forward to enjoying every minute with my family," he adds.  

"Definitely learn to never take life for granted you just don't know what round the corner."

A fundraising page has been set up to help Turner's journey to recovery and can be found here.

Additional reporting SWNS.

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