'Thank you for helping to save Lee's life'

Bobby and Lee Montague. Image shows them smartly dressed, smiling at the camera

Published 5 August 2022

A sales manager who gave her husband CPR after he suffered a cardiac arrest in front of her has thanked NHS staff who helped to save his life.

Lee Montague, 47, collapsed at home in Kings Hill, West Malling, and was not breathing for 20 minutes, until paramedics managed to resuscitate him.

He was then taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, where he spent three weeks in intensive care before being transferred to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital for further care.

The supply chain manager is now continuing his rehabilitation at a specialist hospital in Putney, and wife Bobby said she could not fault the care he had received so far.

She said: “It has been so frightening and so worrying but his care has been fantastic.

“The nurses are amazing, and I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done.

“They were so attentive to Lee and so caring towards us as a family.”

Lee had been playing walking football when he began to feel ill on 11 April. After complaining of chest pain, he suffered two seizures, before his heart stopped beating.

Bobby, who works for a software company, dialled 999 and the call handler gave her instructions on how to give him chest compressions to keep him alive until the ambulance arrived.

She said: “It was only about six to eight minutes but it felt like forever. I had an idea of what I needed to do but the woman on the phone confirmed it, and said I had to press down on his chest as hard as I could.

“It was absolutely terrifying. I hope I never have to go through it again.”

Paramedics worked on Lee for another 45 minutes before transferring him to the William Harvey Hospital where he underwent a procedure to unblock his arteries.

At first medics were not sure he would survive, but slowly his condition began to improve and he was able to be moved to Mount McMaster Ward at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

The family regularly baked cakes and other treats for staff, and gifted them a ‘little jar of big thanks’, containing messages they could open every day to give them a boost.

Bobby said: “The jar was my sister-in-law’s idea; we just wanted them to know how eternally grateful we will always be to them.

“They deserve all the treats they can get; they work so hard and were absolutely wonderful with Lee, so patient and kind.

“We were sad to leave although it was right that he could move to the next stage of his recovery.”

Lee has continued to progress in his recovery and is now able to walk and feed himself. He still experiences some memory issues and sometimes struggles to communicate but has amazed doctors with his progress.

Bobby said: “When Lee’s current doctor looked at his previous MRI scans, he couldn’t believe the progress he’s made.

“They are so impressed by what he can do now. He could be in the hospital for another six months but we are just grateful that he is here. He makes progress every day and we are so grateful for everything the hospital teams have done.”