10 May 2011
A member of staff, whose heart stopped beating while
swimming, was reunited with the people who saved his
Ambulance officer Jim McCluskey was training
for a triathlon at the Central Park Leisure Centre in Romford in
February when he suddenly felt dizzy and suffered a cardiac arrest.
His son Tony raised the alarm and the lifeguards leapt into
Lifeguards Daniel Stripling, David Hickford
and Reiss Thomas pulled Jim out of the pool, started
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and shocked his heart with a
defibrillator while someone called 999.
Reiss, whose parents and uncle and aunt are
paramedics with the Service, said: “We realised Jim was in cardiac
arrest and immediately started resuscitation. Our life-support and
CPR skills are updated regularly but luckily nothing as serious has
happened for a very long time.”
Paramedic Kelly Henderson and Student
Paramedic Gemma Ollerton, both from Whipps Cross, were on scene
within minutes and were followed by Becontree Emergency Medical
Technician Simon Lawrence.
Kelly said: “By the time we got to Jim, he was
coming round thanks to the quick actions of the lifeguards.
”Every second counts when someone’s heart
stops beating and it is important to call 999 straightway. Getting
a defibrillator to someone suffering cardiac arrest, or starting
CPR as soon as possible, gives the patient the best chance of
The crew took Jim to Queen’s Hospital where he
spent four days before being moved to the London Chest Hospital to
have a heart operation. He was then transferred to St Bartholomew's
Hospital and fitted with an internal cardioverter
Jim will not be competing in the triathlon he
was training for, but will be cycling from London to Brighton in
June to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.
He said: “I would like to again thank all the
staff at the leisure centre and the Service who saved my life. The
treatment I received was truly professional and so many of my
colleagues have been extremely supportive of me and my family
throughout my recovery.”
The latest London Ambulance Service
figures show that the survival rate for people like Jim, who suffer
a cardiac arrest outside of hospital in the capital, is now the
Over one fifth of cardiac arrest patients
(21.5 per cent) treated by ambulance staff survive to hospital
discharge, compared to half of that four years ago (10.9 per
One of the factors in the increased survival
rate is the access to defibrillators in public places around the
capital and London Ambulance staff teaching people who work there
how to use them while an ambulance is on its way.
For more information about
the capital’s cardiac arrest survival rate please visit our
Notes to editors:
- For further information about the London Ambulance Service or
this news release please contact the communications department on
020 7783 2286.
- Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ldn_ambulance