Car dealership worker given award for saving customer’s life after showroom heart attack

  • ‘Heart hero’ honoured for lifesaving CPR on driver who had cardiac arrest
  • Stuart McCreath has been recognised by the British Heart Foundation
  • Peter Vardy employee stepped in when customer suffered heart attack at the showroom

Time 8:31 am, December 8, 2023

A car dealership worker has been honoured with a special award after he saved the life of a grandfather who suffered a heart attack at a Scottish showroom.

Stuart McCreath administered life-saving CPR to Steven Smith when he went into cardiac arrest at Peter Vardy Jaguar Land Rover Aberdeen earlier this year.

The 36-year-old parts advisor also restarted Smith’s heart using a defibrillator and carried out CPR until paramedics arrived at the scene.

His actions have seen him named a ‘heart hero’ at the British Heart Foundation’s Heart Hero Awards, which took place at Glaziers Hall in London on Wednesday.

Reacting to the honour, the former armourer in the military, said: ‘It feels odd to be called a hero. I just did something that I could do that needed to be done.

‘The biggest thing in my head was ensuring that Steven would have more time with his family.

‘I was gobsmacked to be nominated for a Heart Hero award. I was humbled but the best reward I could have had was Steven being around for his grand-daughter.’

On the day of the incident, Smith, 56, was returning a courtesy car to the Peter Vardy showroom when he suffered a suspected heart attack at the wheel, which then triggered a sudden cardiac arrest.

McCreath smashed the windows of the car which was still accelerating, climbed through a back window, switched off the engine and pulled Smith out with the help of colleague, Lorraine Maxwell.

At this point Smith’s heart was still beating and he was still breathing, before he made what sounded like a ‘last gasp’.

McCreath then told co-workers to call an ambulance and spent 12 minutes battling to save Smith’s life until it arrived.

Reflecting on what happened, the Aberdeen native said: ‘The man inside, who of course I now know to be Steven, had his chin on his chest and his hands by his side. I was hitting the windows, but none would open.

‘I ran to the workshop and asked for a hammer, and I told them to call an ambulance immediately.’

McCreath was nominated for his award by Smith’s family.

The British Heart Foundation said that fewer than one in 10 people in the UK survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, but early CPR and defibrillation can double the chances of surviving.

Smith, a semi-retired project engineer, who has a son and a granddaughter, was in hospital for five days following the incident in January.

He had four stents fitted on his right-side main coronary artery, followed by a further two stents on the left side three weeks later.

A regular runner, he was shocked by his major heart incident.

He said: ‘They think the sudden cardiac arrest was caused by a calcium build-up because my cholesterol and blood pressure was fine, as was my weight and general diet.

‘The medical team in hospital told me that I was very lucky and the CPR had saved my life.

‘I’m so grateful that Stuart, Lorraine and their colleagues were able to react in that situation. If the cardiac arrest had happened whilst I was out running or home alone, I’d have been a goner.

‘I feel so lucky that it happened when and where it did. How can you put into words being able to thank them?

‘Can you ever say enough when thanking someone for saving your life?’

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, added: ‘We hope the awards inspire others to take action against heart and circulatory diseases – by learning CPR, fundraising, or even donating unwanted goods to one of our stores.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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