Cardiac arrest survivor who collapsed at a table tennis match encourages people to learn life-saving skills

Mike Jones thanks ambulance crew, off duty PCSO and member of the public after suffering cardiac arrest

Mike Jones, of Bedlington was playing in a table tennis league match at Ouston Community Centre, Chester-le-Street and had just completed a game when he collapsed in cardiac arrest.

Mike, who is on his way to making a full recovery, has now been reunited with the ambulance crew, an off duty Police Community Support Officer and a member of the public to say thank you to those who came to his aid. He is now encouraging others to learn vital life-saving and CPR skills.

Luckily, when Mike collapsed, PCSO, Mark Rodgers from Durham Constabulary and member of the public Robbie Beckwith, were already at the scene called 999 and started CPR immediately.

Paramedics from North East Ambulance Service, Kenton Levitt and Kevin Smith, along with emergency care assistant, Louise Green, quickly arrived on scene and took over life-saving treatment from Mark and Robbie. Kenton shocked Mike with a defibrillator and together, the team transported Mike to the Freeman hospital.

Speaking at the reunion, Mike said, “I am eternally grateful for what Mark and Robbie initially did and then to the team from the ambulance service. Without their intervention I would have died.

“I think everyone should know how to deliver CPR. It really could be the difference between life and death. In fact, I believe it should be taught in schools.”

Paramedic Kenton from North Shields, has been with the service for eight years having left the pub trade for a complete change in career when he reached his 40th year.  Now able to make the difference to people’s lives every day for a living that he had always wanted, Kenton was delighted to see CPR was ongoing when he reached his patient, Mike. 

Having worked for the ambulance service for 12 years himself, paramedic Kevin was keen to meet Mike on behalf of the three and congratulate Mark and Robbie for their efforts.  A strong supporter of community CPR, defibs and responders, he explains, “Saving lives is a team effort.  When we arrived the two were delivering good ongoing chest compressions to Mike that ensured that his heart kept in rhythm so that when we gave him a defibrillator shock, we were able to successfully resuscitate him and transport him for further assessment and treatment.”

He continues “It’s not always easy for people to initiate CPR but the chances of survival and the quality of life thereafter are enormously better if CPR is begun as soon as possible and literally every second counts. 

“It’s important to highlight cases exactly like Mike’s because it gives people the confidence and the motivation to refresh their skills and to put them into practice if they ever need to.  There is nothing more disheartening to an ambulance crew than arriving on scene to a patient like Mike where CPR is not in progress when it could have been – we all joined this service to make a difference to people’s lives and thanks to Mark and Robbie, together we’ve given Mike the chance to enjoy his.”

PSCO Mark said, "Durham Police provides first aid and life saving training evey year but Mike is the first person I have done CPR on. When Mike collapsed I recognised that he wasn't breathing and looking back, I'm glad I started CPR as quick as I did.

"It is essential that people are training in life-saving skills because you never know when someone could collapse - it could happen anywhere or any time. I'm glad I was able to help but it was a massive relief when the paramedics arrived."

Mike is looking forward to supporting NEAS’s Restart a Heart campaign which aims to train schoolchildren throughout the North East in CPR skills on 16 October.

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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