A DEVOTED son who saw his dad brought back from the brink of death has told how he has put his education on hold to care for him.
David Clark and his family had moved to Seaton Carew just a day before his dad Michael collapsed while getting ready for work at Port Clarence Community Farm.
Michael was rushed to the University Hospital of Hartlepool following his scare and immediately transferred to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.
Michael, now 65, was to spend the next seven months in hospital and two months in, he “died” before waiting for an operation.
During a tense 30 minutes, medics brought Michael round after using defibrillators to ‘shock’ him back to life.
But he was left with early on-set dementia, after his brain was starved of oxygen while he was being resuscitated.
But David has shown amazing devotion by dropping out of his A-level studies so he can be a full-time carer for his dad while his mum Karen, 55, goes to work to keep the family going.
David, now 17, said: “I was 11, I was gutted, I didn’t know how to feel.
“You just think you are going to lose someone.
“It was horrible, I was sat at his bedside when he ‘died’.
“The nurses took us to one side and told me something had happened to the man in the next bed to protect me.”
Michael was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle.
Tests revealed his heart had not been fully functioning since 1980.
Today, his heart is only operating at 21 per cent capacity and he uses a pacemaker.
He had spent 27 weeks in hospital and was allowed home on Christmas Eve in 2005.
David said: “It was a nice Christmas, one we thought we might never see with dad.”
But Michael had to go back to hospital in January 2006 after collapsing.
He had to stay in hospital for six weeks and medics put it down to pacemaker problems.
Michael was left suffering with dizzy spells and David became a full-time carer in April this year.
David gave up studying his A-Levels at Hartlepool Sixth Form College to care for his dad and to help make sure his mum Karen could continue working at the Whitby Street Community Drug Centre.
He said: “In April I was off college ill and dad collapsed.
“He went to hospital and the doctors said if he hadn’t gone in in time he could have died.
“I had a lot of stress with dad getting worse, and I didn’t want to go to college because I knew something could happen to him, so I became his full-time carer.”
David, who has brothers Phil, 26 and Jason, 40, and a sister Lyndsey, 33, who live away from home, added: “I do miss college, and it’s my future.
“But I think if I’m not at home, anything can happen.
“I hope to go back to my studies eventually, but the main priority at the moment is being here for my dad.” David helps his dad with his tablets and helps him remember things he has forgotten through the dementia.
Mum Karen said David eventually wants to set up a business training young people in catering.
Grandfather-of-two Michael said: “I feel sorry to tie David down, but I couldn’t do without his help.”
Karen said: “David has got a good head on his shoulders.
“He has had to grow up fairly quickly and he has responded by becoming the man of the family.”