Hayley is back in Bethnal Green from the ‘dead’ searching for her ambulance ‘angels’
- Credit: Vickie Flores/Archant
Hayley Rabin died in the ambulance after a heart attack at home—but miraculously was revived by two paramedics. Now the 49-year-old former ChildLine volunteer wants to meet her “angels” to thank them for giving her life back.
Hayley was with her carer when she was struck by pain at home in her high-rise block of flats in London’s East End.
“I remember going down in the lift to the ambulance and couldn’t breathe—then nothing,” she told the East London Advertiser.
“I didn’t see any angels—or devils!
“There was no life flashing in front of me. It was just a blank canvas. You see nothing when you’re dead.”
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Hayley had gone into cardiac arrest. But the amblance crew of two which turned up at her home on Bethnal Green’s Cranbrook housing estate, off the Roman Road, soon managed to revive her.
“The only ‘angels’ I saw were the paramedics who brought me back from the dead,” Hayley added.
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It was her carer and lifelong friend Jerry Crawley in the ambulance with her who spotted Hayley’s eyes rolling back and her lips turning blue.
He alerted the ambulance team which immediately set about resuscitating her.
Jerry recalled: “She was struggling to catch her breath and pleading for help, clawing at her chest, unable to breath.
“Her eyes suddenly rolled back. I called out to the paramedics who were on the ball straight away, laying her down, pumping her chest all the way to the hospital, giving her oxygen and something to open her airways.”
Other paramedics and doctors were waiting when the ambulance arrived minutes later at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
Hayley started breathing again, shallow at first, Jerry remembers. Then they rushed her into resuscitation. Her heart started again. Doctors gave her brain scan, then put her in the acute care ward on life-support, with nurses watching her 24/seven.
Jerry added: “They tried putting her into an induced coma, but she kept trying to wake up.
“Then she sat up—she’s always been a fighter.”
But Hayley had no idea she had had a heart attack and didn’t realise she had technically ‘died’ until she was given her discharge paper two days later.
“I didn’t even know I had a cardiac arrest,” she said. “When they told me, I just cried.
“The paramedics do a remarkable job and I will never forget them.”
Now the grandmother-of-three is back at home, fully recovered, feeling on top of the world in the 20-storey Offenbach House tower block, glad to be alive.
She wants to thank her two “angel” paramedics who made that possible, Stefan Hopfenzitz and Breh O’Keeffe, but both are working different shifts at Poplar ambulance station. The London Ambulance Service is trying to arrange a reunion for Hayley—so she can personally thank her “angels” for saving her life.