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