CHRISTMAS is a time of miracles and the gift of giving and a father of four from Mylor has experienced both at once.
Patrick Polglase's life was saved by dedicated hospital staff after his heart stopped beating.
On Monday he returned to the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske, Truro, to personally thank them.
As a result of what he and wife Pen say is luck, he was already at Treliske when he suffered a cardiac arrest, caused by an underlying heart condition.
Staff gave him CPR and put him into an induced coma.
"It was pretty scary," said Mrs Polglase. "He basically died for five minutes. But everyone was fantastic. I cannot fault them, they were just amazing."
It happened just over four weeks ago, when Mr Polglase felt unwell and could not sleep.
After going for a walk, he decided to drive to hospital but his wife insisted she took him.
Arriving at A&E in the early hours, he collapsed while waiting to be seen.
"If the staff didn't move as fast as they did they wouldn't have saved me," he said. "If they had not done everything right, I could have been left brain damaged or died."
Dr Rob Taylor, consultant emergency physician, said: "He was very poorly and we did not know how he would do.
"For me he is a patient that makes the job so rewarding, so worthwhile. One of the those patients I will never forget.
"With cardiac arrests every second counts. He really was in the right place at the right time."
Mr Polglase, 50, had Wolff Parkinson White syndrome, an abnormal electrical pathway causing rapid heart rate.
While in hospital he had a procedure to rectify this.
He added: "I knew I had a heart syndrome but I didn't know I could die.
"It certainly puts things into perspective. It was very humbling meeting the people who saved my life.
"They are doing this day in, day out and doing their best for everybody."
He paid tribute to everyone at the hospital involved in his care.
"Those who saved my life and many others in A&E and then in intensive care, before I was moved to the terrific team in the coronary critical care unit. All of them were brilliant, thoughtful and compassionate.
"People can take comfort in knowing there are truly great things happening in hospital and especially when you really need them."
Mr and Mrs Polglase are now urging everyone to learn CPR.
"It can so easily save lives," they said.