Asda pharmacy manager Richard saves life of customer having heart attack

August 5, 2020

Our quick-thinking pharmacy manager Richard Harrison has been hailed a hero by a customer who was having a heart attack in our Derby store but didn't realise it.

Colleagues helped grandmother of five Julie Halford, who worked at the store for 30 years, when she felt faint.

She thought she'd feel better for a rest at home, but pharmacy manager Richard noticed she was clammy and called for an ambulance after he couldn't get an accurate reading of her blood pressure and pulse.

Julie says his actions saved her life.

She said: "If it hadn't been for Richard I don't think I would be here now to be honest with you. I think he saved my life. If I'd been at home and not felt well I don't know what would have happened. I was at the right place at the right time."

Julie, who's 67 and worked at the store until 2017, can't remember much of what happened on the day, July 3.

She said: "I'd been to the pizza counter then I was walking back to chilled and I said to my husband John that I thought I was going to faint. A lady called Karen that I knew at the store got me a chair because I was trembling. Then everything went black. I think Richard came to me then but I can't really remember anything other than being in the ambulance and saying 'Have I had a heart attack?' and they went 'Yes you have.' It was a shock."

Julie, who had two stents fitted at the Royal Derby Hospital, is making a great recovery. She called in to see Richard to say thank you in person.

She said: "I'm just getting on with my life now. I'm not one to look on the dark side of things. My glass is always half full."

Asda Derby pharmacy manager Richard Harrison hailed as a hero

Richard, who's worked for Asda for 10 years, said: "When I saw Julie she was really clammy to touch and was light headed. I got her to the pharmacy so I could keep my eye on her as I thought that something just wasn't right.

"I tried to check her blood pressure, but it wouldn't read properly and I tried to get a pulse, but couldn't get a pulse properly either, so there were quite a few flags! Julie said she's had a bit of indigestion too.

"She did say to me that she'd just go home and sleep it off – but I said 'I'm not letting you go, as I'm not happy'. I phoned for 999 for an ambulance and said that I thought she was having a heart attack and they came in about five minutes.

"I'm relieved that it happened in the store and not the car park where Julie may have decided to just get home. I'm just so happy that she's ok now."

This isn't the first time Richard's had to help when a customer's been taken ill in the store.

He said: "I had a gentleman four or five years ago in store with a similar situation so I'd kind of seen this thing before."

Store manager Adele Bayfield-Knight, pictured above with Richard, says everyone at the store is so proud of his actions, and relieved to hear that Julie is making a good recovery.

She said: "Richard is a real gentleman and has a caring way with customers and colleagues so when he was called to help at the first aid call I knew the customer would be in safe hands. However, I didn't realise that his quick thinking would actually save her life!

"I know Richard will play it down and say it's all part of the service but on that day, at that moment, his actions changed the outcome for a whole family. We think he is amazing and I'm so proud of him."

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