Helicopter ER: Yorkshire Air Ambulance called after golfer suffers heart attack in Hillsborough, Sheffield
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Yorkshire Air Ambulance was scrambled to Hillsborough Golf Club when dad-of-two John Anderson, aged 65, collapsed shortly after beginning his round there with some friends. He stopped breathing for nearly 10 minutes and only survived thanks to the quick-thinking of his fellow players. One of them, Kevin Goss, immediately started CPR, while another, Rob Biggins, ran back to the clubhouse to seek help.
Club steward Carl Pagden, who is trained in first aid, and another golfer Matt Shaw raced to the scene and joined Kevin in giving CPR until paramedics arrived with a defibrillator and managed to restart John’s heart before the air ambulance arrived. John was airlifted to the Northern General Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to fit a mini-defibrillator and pacemaker.
‘I've been told I was dead for over nine minutes’ says Sheffield golfer who owes his life to friends
Retired farrier John said: “It was my first time at the club and I remember Rob saying the first hole was on a bit of a hill but after that it wasn’t too bad. I took my first shot and the next thing I
remember is waking up in hospital. But I’ve been told I was dead for over nine minutes. Without Kevin, Matt and Carl I would not be here – they literally saved my life and I can’t thank them enough for what they did that day.”
John has made an excellent recovery since the incident in May last year and is back playing golf at the club, which now has a defibrillator at the clubhouse and one on the course, after his grateful son Callum launched a fundraising campaign to pay for one of the life-saving devices.
John said: “When I was in hospital, the footballer Christian Eriksen suffered his heart attack on the pitch during the European Championships and I thought how terrifying it must have been for everyone around me. Thankfully, he survived as well because he received immediate CPR. I am just so grateful that I got that second chance. Every day I wake up is a bonus.”
Quick response vital to surviving cardiac arrest, with death rate shockingly high
John is one of the lucky ones, with fewer than one in 10 people surviving cardiac arrests that happen outside hospital, and every minute a person in cardiac arrest goes without CPR and defibrillation, their chance of survival drops by up to 10 per cent. Yorkshire Air Ambulance aircrew medic Dr Brian White, who attended John, said: “It is the early starting of CPR that is the most important thing, and that started as soon as John collapsed – that’s the bit that saved his life.”
John’s near-death experience features in the latest episode of Helicopter ER, the reality TV series chronicling Yorkshire Air Ambulance’s life-saving rescue operations, which is due to air on Really this Tuesday, November 15, at 9pm. Episode 9 also features the story of a woman who had to learn to walk again after being seriously injured in a car crash, and a farmer who was crushed by one of her cows.
Yorkshire Air Ambulance responded to more than 1,700 incidents last year but needs to raise £19,000 a day to keep its two helicopters flying. For more about the charity and how to donate, visit: www.yorkshireairambulance.org.uk.