Marilyn's guardian angel: cardiac arrest victim reunited with her saviour

SPECIAL GIFT: Marilyn Buttsworth (right) thanks Jenna McAtamney who gave her life-saving CPR. Mrs Buttsworth’s son Derek and her sister Carolyn Russell look on. 
Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0724sglife3

SPECIAL GIFT: Marilyn Buttsworth (right) thanks Jenna McAtamney who gave her life-saving CPR. Mrs Buttsworth’s son Derek and her sister Carolyn Russell look on. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0724sglife3

WHEN Marilyn Buttsworth had a cardiac arrest while driving her car out of Mulberry Lane in May, a guardian angel, Jenna McAtamney, was nearby ready to save her life.

On Thursday the two women came face to face in an emotional meeting in Orange, with Mrs Buttsworth handing over a special gift to Mrs McAtamney.

“It’s a guardian angel and a gold star crystal - she was amazing,” Mrs Buttsworth said.

“She was my guardian angel that night - and now I want her to have her own guardian angel to look over her.”

Mrs Buttsworth said she had no recollection of the  22-year-old veterinary nurse working on her after she had stopped breathing.

Mrs McAtamney used her CPR skills in the pitch dark of the lane guided only by the light from her mobile phone.

“I just remember coming out of work at Hidden Talent and getting in my car,” she said.

“I was in a coma for two weeks before they had to fly me to Sydney for further treatment.”

Now with a pacemaker/defibrillator in her chest Mrs Buttsworth says she has a new lease of life thanks to Mrs McAtamney and the team of paramedics and doctors who cared for her in Orange and Sydney.

“When I spoke to Jenna on the phone for the first time it was very emotional,” Mrs Buttsworth said.

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Mrs McAtamney said her response on the night of the accident was automatic.

“I used to be a swimming instructor so I had done my training previously, but I had only just upgraded it when this happened,” Mrs McAtamney said.

“Everything just kicked in - it was amazing how it all came back to me.”

Mrs Buttsworth said the health scare had been life changing.

“At the time I didn’t have any power of attorney so no decisions could be made and so I have done that because it’s really important,” she said.

“I’ve become a much deeper thinker and I really want to do more for my children Tracy and Derek.”

Mrs McAtamney said it was lovely to see Mrs Buttsworth looking so well.

“Its nice to be able to speak with her,” she said.

Despite Mrs Buttsworth’s praise, Mrs McAtamney is very humble about her efforts on the night.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” she said.

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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