THE FAMILY of a beloved dad hope to launch a defibrillator in their community after his tragic death.

Kelly Dixon’s life was turned upside down one night in 2019 when her husband, Andrew, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.

Despite receiving CPR from his wife before paramedics arrived, Andrew was rushed to Darlington Memorial Hospital where he died days later. Tests later revealed he had epiglottitis, which tragically went undiagnosed. 

“It was really sudden and wasn’t an expected passing at all,” Ms Dixon recalled. 

“He’d been quite unwell for just a day or two with a sore throat and things escalated to a point where he became severely unwell at home. It turned out it had been a nasty throat infection that caused his airways to swell, which had gone onto a cardiac arrest.”

Andrew received CPR from his wife, a qualified nurse, on the front garden of their Darlington home in the early hours of the morning after paramedics told of a 45-minute wait for an ambulance.

The Northern Echo: Andrew with daughters Katie, 11, and Sophie, 14Andrew with daughters Katie, 11, and Sophie, 14

Ms Dixon says Andrew would have had a better chance of surviving if a defibrillator was available, and now wants to install one in the nearby area to help others.

She added: “The night we needed help it was difficult to get an ambulance. There was nothing nearby, the closest one came from Middlesbrough, so because Andrew had a cardiac arrest, I had to do CPR on the front garden. You just don’t ever expect to have to do it on your own family members.

“We waited 45 minutes for an ambulance and things escalated from there. I don't know if a defibrillator would have helped our situation but to have one readily available can only be of benefit to the local community.”

Despite the heroic attempts to save Andrew, Ms Dixon was told Andrew had an incurable brain injury and died days later. The family, including daughters Sophie, 14, and Katie, 11, are fundraising for a defibrillator to mark his 40th birthday next week.

“It’s been a rough couple of years trying to come to terms with it all,” Ms Dixon added.

“There is not a massive amount of defibrillators that are accessible 24 hours a day. Andrew took poorly at home in the early hours of the morning so there’s nowhere we could have accessed one.

“It was just a catalogue of unfortunate events that night.”

The Northern Echo: “He was a true family man"“He was a true family man"

A devoted Middlesbrough FC fan, Andrew travelled the country to follow the Teessiders and his favourite band, Oasis.

“He was a true family man who worked hard to provide the best life he could for his girls and we have some amazing memories,” Ms Dixon said.

“Huge heart, huge sense of humour and just missed so much by so many. He really was one in a million so this is a fitting tribute.” 

An online fundraiser for the defibrillator has already raised more than £1,600, with the family due to take part in several charity events to raise awareness of their campaign.

Andrew leaves behind wife Kelly, daughters Sophie and Katie, his parents, a brother, a niece and two nephews as well as countless family and friends. 

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