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Swift actions of volunteer first aiders save friend and colleague after sudden cardiac arrest

Amazing story shows you never know when you might need to use first aid skills to save a friend or loved one

St John Ambulance volunteers Steve Walker, Dave Amos, Ray Ashman and Dr Ian Jutting were at the fundraising event for public access defibrillators. Little did they know that their first aid skills would be needed to help one of their own team.

At around 8.30pm Steve had wandered away from the group. Suddenly, Dave heard a commotion from the other end of the garden and someone urgently shouting for a first aider.

Dave said, ‘I instantly thought Steve must have come across someone who needed our help. I ran over, but when I got there, it was Steve who had collapsed.’

Ray and Ian joined Dave, who found Steve had been placed in the recovery position. They checked his condition using the primary survey and quickly established Steve had stopped breathing.

The volunteers leapt into action to save their friend and colleague. Ian opened Steve’s airway and started rescue breaths, and Ray began chest compressions. Dave ran to fetch a defibrillator from his car.



Steve Walker with fellow volunteers


Dave said, ‘Steve couldn’t have been in better hands at this point. Ian is a retired BASICS doctor, who is trained to provide medical support at the scene of an accident or major medical emergency; Ray is an experience first aider; and I’m an Emergency Medical Technician and Community First Responder. Thankfully, it seems Steve may have been in the best possible place for this to have happened, outside of hospital.’

Dave attached the defibrillator to Steve’s chest, which indicated a shock was required. The defibrillator delivered a shock, and then, after one more round of CPR, a regular heartbeat was established and Steve started to breathe again.

Steve was taken by road to hospital, where he regained consciousness in accident and emergency. He was taken into surgery and had two stents fitted to treat a blocked artery.

Steve said, ‘I was so fortunate to be amongst friends and colleagues who were so well trained. It must have been difficult for them to do CPR on someone who they knew, but that’s the point of being first aid trained – you never know when you may need it and you may need to use it on a stranger, a friend or a loved one.

‘I never thought I’d be on the receiving end of CPR, but my story shows exactly why it’s better to know what to do and to be able to just get on with it. If I’d have been at home by myself, the outcome probably would have been very different. I owe them my life.’



Defibrillators are lifesaving pieces of equipment. Learn how to use one by watching our video: