DES Humphries is a VIP guest of the club for today’s visit of QPR – only five months after suffering a cardiac arrest at The Hawthorns.
Lifelong Albion fan Des, 82, from Stourbridge, needed to be resuscitated after his heart stopped beating shortly before the derby with Villa in April. Fast-acting stewards, paramedics and supporters joined forces to save his life.
Albion’s assistant chief steward Phil Clarke and senior licensed steward Mark Haywood were called to Des’ East Stand seat by off-duty paramedic, Phil Turton, who sits near Des.
They began resuscitating the Handsworth-born season ticket holder while paramedics made their way to the incident. Upon arrival, paramedics revived Des using defibrillators and heart massaging techniques.
Des then underwent a triple heart bypass during an eight-week stay in Sandwell and Wolverhampton hospitals.
But his progress has been such that he was able to make his Hawthorns return to watch his beloved Baggies beat Liverpool on the opening day of the season.
Des, son Nigel and his friend Phil Turton have been invited as Boardroom guests by Chairman Jeremy Peace for today’s game.
Des remains extremely thankful to everyone who helped save his life.
“I am so grateful for the way the club as a whole treated me,” said Des.
“I have written to the club to say thank you to everyone who helped me.
“I am incredibly lucky to be here. If it had not been for the prompt reaction to my situation things might have been very different.
“Without Albion’s well-planned, well-rehearsed emergency section I would never have had the chance to say thank you.
“I must also thank the club for the interest they paid to my condition afterwards, to the point where one of my surgeons received a call from Roy Hodgson to see how I was just before he left.
“I’m also incredibly grateful to the hospitals, paramedics and stewards. Both of the hospitals were fantastic and I couldn’t have been cared for any better.”
Des joked he was apprehensive about receiving treatment across the Black Country at Wolverhampton Hospital!
He quipped: “It was dangerous ground being a Baggie in Wolverhampton but they were brilliant too.
“It’s a silly thing but as I was going into theatre the assistants wheeling me in joked that when they brought me out I was going to have a tattoo on my backside of Wolverhampton Wanderers!
“There was some really good banter and they couldn’t have treated me any better.
“I’m now very much looking forward to being at the game as a guest of the Chairman.”
Chairman Jeremy Peace was delighted to hear of Des’ improved health and praised the efforts of everyone involved in his recovery.
“Everyone at the club was concerned to hear about what had happened to Des and we are delighted he is well enough to be our guest today,” he said.
“It is important that fans feel safe inside football stadiums and I’m pleased to hear the fast response from our stewards contributed to saving his life.
“I would like to commend the paramedics and stewards who came to Des’ aid.”
In accordance with Spectator Safety National Occupational Standards (NOS), all stewards at The Hawthorns have at least an NVQ Level Two in Spectator Safety, which includes a certificate in first aid.
Area support officer for West Midlands Ambulance Service, Stef Whitehouse, was the first paramedic on the scene and hailed the efforts of Albion’s stewards.
“It was a massive team effort to revive Des and without the help of everybody involved it might have been a very different story,” she said.
“Mark and Phil teamed up to perform CPR on Des and move members of the crowd so that we could get all of the equipment we required as close as we needed to.
“The reaction of everybody was straight out of the textbook – it literally couldn’t have worked any better than.
“On average, it takes around eight minutes to get to someone who has stopped breathing so to already be on the scene was hugely advantageous.
“I can’t tell you in words how I felt when I saw Des at the game against Reading two weeks ago.
“I went along to meet him with the other stewards at half-time and it was a very emotional moment for everyone.
“It was phenomenal to see him again. To see him looking so well brought a tear to my eye.”
PIC: (from left to right) Nigel Humphries, Mark Haywood, Des Humphries, Phil Clarke, Phil Turton.