Guy back at the place where he collapsed

Team work and planning save Guy's life

Cyclist Guy Mallon was dramatically brought back to life thanks to the planning, preparation and quick thinking by members of his cycling club.

Guy was part of a Harrogate cycling club’s weekend trip to the North East when he collapsed due to a cardiac arrest near Durham on the return ride home.  He was resuscitated because the club had a defibrillator in their support van and the club members were trained in first aid.

That combination saved his life.

The Harrogate MAMIL (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) Cycling Club were on their way home after cycling to Durham the day before.  Fellow member Neil Turnbull takes up the story:  “We were four miles outside of Durham on the return leg when I heard one of the cyclists shout my name and then I saw Guy face down by the side of the road.  A minute or so earlier he had told me that he had felt a pain in his chest so I knew what was wrong.

“There was no sign of life. Eighteen months earlier all the members of the team were trained in CPR and kiss of life and I started with CPR straight away.  Additionally, being an organised group, a year earlier it was decided to bring a defibrillator on major rides which was carried in the support van.”

Neil and then Kevin McMaw started CPR while Mike Whittaker checked his airways and administered the kiss of life.  The team then sprung into action. John Charles arrived in the support van and Neil asked him to call 999. John then did a great job of explaining the precise location and putting the phone on loudspeaker so the operator could communicate directly with the guys administering the CPR. Nick Wright then took responsibility for setting up and applying the defibrillator to Guy's chest.

There was no response to the first shock, but two minutes later with the second shock, Guy’s heart started again and he began breathing.  In total, Guy was unconscious for around eight minutes.

Medical advisor Hal Convery took the call at NEAS.  He said:  “I was really surprised that they had a defibrillator – it made a huge difference and it’s one of the easiest CPR calls I’ve taken, because they knew what they were doing.  Many cycling clubs like to go off the beaten track so are not near hospitals and community defibrillators, so his chances improved dramatically. I’m really pleased he’s on the mend.”

Neil added:  “It was a real team effort. A couple of minutes after his heart re-started the ambulance arrived.  When the paramedics arrived they said: ‘You’ve saved his life.’  It was very dramatic and emotional for all of us.  We all thought we’d done something really special.”

Guy was taken to University Hospital of North Durham and then transferred to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.  He’s now out of hospital and starting his road to recovery after treatment and surgery.  Prior to his cardiac arrest, Guy was a fit and active 47 year-old, who, as well as cycling, was a keen runner and played football on a weekly basis. Medical checks have been unable to establish why it occurred and there is no family history of heart disease.

Paramedic Hannah Sanderson said:  “The CPR and use of the defibrillator were crucial in saving Guy’s life, especially as we were some way away from a hospital.”

Guy, a married father of three young children and management consultant with KPMG, said:

“The only thing I remember is cycling along and having a conversation with Neil about not feeling great.  “Having a defibrillator in the back-up van improved my chances of surviving significantly, along with CPR which was started within a minute.  There’s no question that they saved my life.

“In a pretty unique set of circumstances, I was saved thanks to good planning, preparation and quick thinking. It goes to show that with the right training, people can make a difference.  I was also amazed at what the ambulance crew also did for me – looking after me on the road and then taking me to hospital.

“I would urge other cycling clubs to have members who are trained in CPR and, if possible, have a defibrillator with them.”

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