‘Quick-thinking restaurant staff saved my life’ says Romford stroke victim

Bill Dixey, age 68 had a stroke in Raphael's restaurant in Main Road, Romford, and the quick-thinkin

Bill Dixey, age 68 had a stroke in Raphael's restaurant in Main Road, Romford, and the quick-thinking staff member helped save his life. Aykut Nafioglu with Bill Dixey. - Credit: Archant

A man who had a stroke while eating lunch in a cafe has heaped praise on the quick-thinking member of staff who helped save his life.

Bill Dixey, 67, was eating in Raphaels restaurant in Raphaels Park with his wife Christine and family when his speech became slurred and the right side of his face dropped.

Owner Aykut Nafioglu dialled 999 and was helped to guide Bill though some exercises while waiting for an ambulance.

Paramedics arrived within three minutes and after 45 minutes Bill was sitting up in Queen’s Hospital.

“That guy saved my life,” said Bill, of Pettits Lane, Romford. “Make no bones about it, if it hadn’t been for him and the care I received at Queen’s I wouldn’t be here now talking to you.”

His memory of the situation is sketchy.

“I was talking to my wife and I thought my left hand didn’t feel right,” he said. “Then my speech got slurred. My wife even asked her mum if I was messing about.

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“The man who had called the ambulance then told me to lift both hands – I thought I had, but my wife told me later that I only lifted one.

“They gave me a drug that speeds up blood flow and when it was going in I was reacting to it. Luckily there’s no lasting damage.”

His three daughters, one of whom is a physio, are now taking it in turns to check up on Bill with regular phone calls.

“I’m 67 and I’ve never been in hospital before,” he said. “Then last month I had a mole removed and now this.”

Bill says he cannot thank Aykut or the hospital staff enough for escaping with no serious damage after such a serious incident.

And he is even able to make light of the situation.

“I was the only one who had a dessert,” he said. “I’ve been joking telling people not to order one!”

Aykut remembers seeing Bill’s body drop but the modest manager says he just did what the medics told him to.

“They were saying to do these exercises but I knew he had had a stroke,” he said. “When he came in the other day I was looking at him thinking it can’t be him, it only happened last week. I was happy to see he was okay.”