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Disabled man saves his carer’s life

Ian Ruddock and Sandra McKeown
Ian Ruddock and Sandra McKeown Image credit: liverpoolecho.co.uk

A disabled man reversed the roles on his carer when he saved her life after she suffered a serious fall in his home in Fairfield, Liverpool.

Ian Ruddock, 55 is looked after Sandra McKeown, 59, in a house with Debbie Crosbie, 60, who also needs care.

One night, last April, Sandra did her usual routine locking up the house before going to bed.

She told Liverpool Echo: "I was walking around doing my usual thing as I'm a night owl.

"So I make sure everything is locked. After that, I don't remember any more.

"They thought I'd fell down the stairs but I hadn't because I had no broken bones or bruising but my head banged the wall by the door.

"Thank god I didn't remember anything as I was taken right into intensive care."

Ian, who was in bed, heard a thud downstairs and went to the landing to see what had happened.

Sandra explained: "He looked over the banister and saw me on the floor.

"And when he came down he saw the blood. But it wasn't coming from my head it was coming from my ears.

"He panicked which is understandable at the end of the day as nobody wants to see that.

"But he phoned my brother Harry, right away."

The carer was rushed to hospital where doctors confirmed she had collapsed from a bleed on the brain.

Sandra was in a coma for five-and-a-half weeks.

She said: "I woke up in the ward and was shocked to find myself in hospital.

"After the doctor told me what had happened I said why me, and he said why not you.

"It could happen to anyone, anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

"He said the person who rang your brother is the person you need to thank for saving your life."

Since Debbie’s husband passed away 13 years ago Sandra has been a Shared Lives Carer for her and Ian.

She knows how difficult and isolating it can be losing a loved one.

Sandra said: "I lost my husband seven years ago so Harry is my next of kin, I've got no children.

"I've always drummed into my two service users, if you feel as anything is not right you ring Harry.

"Ian is just like family as he's been with us for so long. He's been with me for 13 years in August."

She added: "When I saw him the first time I come home, I just run up and hugged him.

"He said to me, 'Sam, I wish I could buy you the world. I said you've bought me the world by just being there.’

"That to me was everything.

"He'll never ask for an accolade or praise, he's not that type of person.

"But being a carer is a lovely job, it's rewarding. And by god, Ian rewarded me."

For more information on Shared Lives Carers visit their website.