A factory worker has been hailed a hero after he delivered life-saving CPR to an elderly cyclist who went into cardiac arrest.
Karl Harrison has been praised after he leaped into action when a 76-year-old man collapsed while riding his bike on Washington Road near Nissan Sunderland Plant at about 7.40am on Thursday (12th August).
Karl, who received his first aid training as part of his Quality Assurance job at Nissan from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), saw the pensioner collapse as he drove into work.
Recognising that the cyclist had gone into cardiac arrest, Karl immediately began to perform chest compressions while a colleague called 999.
Paramedics and police arrived on scene a short time later and, with the assistance of a defibrillator, the medical professionals were able to revive the patient.
He was taken to hospital where he is described as being in a stable condition. Emergency services say Karl’s intervention almost certainly saved the man’s life.
PC Mary-Anne Hutchison, of Northumbria Police, attended the factory last week to thank him for his efforts and update him on the pensioner’s condition.
She said: “There is no doubt that the CPR delivered by Karl in the moments after the cyclist collapsed have saved his life.
“He did not think twice about intervening and delivering first aid to this stranger who had collapsed in front of him on his morning commute.
“We have spoken to the cyclist’s family and he is stable in hospital and very grateful to Karl for what he did that day.
“Karl should be very proud of himself and it was our pleasure to meet him on Thursday and deliver the good news about the patient.”
Karl, 43, who lives in Hartlepool, said: “It’s not what you expect at about 7am on your way into work, but human instinct to help just kicks in.
“When I did my CPR training with Nissan and the Ambulance Service I hoped I’d never have to use it, but this just shows why it is so important to get this training.
“I don’t even normally drive that way – by chance I had taken a detour to a newsagents on my way in. It was a collective effort from me and some other passers-by to keep him alive until the paramedics arrived.
“I’m just glad he’s going to be ok.”
Dr Michael Norton, deputy medical director at North East Ambulance Service, said they were delighted that their first aid training had helped save a man’s life and joined the police in praising Karl.
He said: “Cardiac arrest can strike anybody, at any time, in any place, and every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces the chances of survival by 10 per cent.
“CPR is easy to learn and can make a real difference to someone’s chances of survival whilst our ambulance crews are travelling in those first few minutes after someone’s heart stops beating. Your hands could, quite literally, save a life, as Karl has proven here.
“Our trained health advisors will stay on the phone with you and guide you through how to do CPR but there are simple steps everyone can do, from watching the videos on the British Heart Foundation’s website to taking a first aid training course where restrictions allow.
“It’s fantastic to hear such a positive outcome and we wish the patient well in their recovery.”
The North East Ambulance Service provides award-winning, First Aid, Health and Safety and Trauma training and to find out more visit www.firstaidneas.co.uk.