Cardiac arrest cyclist reunited with the fellow rider who helped to save his life

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A man who had a cardiac arrest at a cycling event has been reunited with the fellow competitor who helped to save his life.

Alastair Page, 55, a commercial director from Palmers Green, collapsed as he rode up a hill 10 miles from the end of the 58-mile RIDE IT Hatfield Sportive event in Hertfordshire on May 21.

He was spotted by Stephen Price, a chemistry professor at University College London who is also a St John Ambulance community first responder.

Professor Price, 52, who was taking part in the event with his wife Penny, said: “We were riding up the hill and came across a group of cyclists. One of them, Alastair, was lying on the  side of the road, struggling to breathe.

“I immediately recognised this was agonal breathing [gasping respiration], which is often a sign someone is in cardiac arrest.

“Being a CFR meant I had the confidence to take action and thankfully I knew what to do. I gave CPR while another cyclist called for an ambulance. An ambulance service fast-response paramedic soon arrived on the scene and assessed Alastair’s condition while I continued CPR.

“The paramedic gave a shock to Alastair’s heart using a defibrillator. This re-established a regular heartbeat and Alastair started to breathe again.” 

Mr Page was flown by Essex and Herts Air Ambulance to Harefield Hospital, where he was placed in an induced coma for 48 hours. He was diagnosed with being susceptible to arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, and fitted with an internal defibrillator, which protects against future arrests. 

Mr Page was reunited with Professor Price this month and shared his story to help mark the 140th anniversary of St John Ambulance. He said: “I remember a little bit about the start of the day, but other than that I only know what I’ve been told.

“I do know I was very lucky Stephen was close by. I am beyond grateful to Stephen for stopping and helping me. The consultant commented that he’d done an excellent job. But it’s important to say that Stephen was the first part in a vital chain of events which kept me alive.

“From his CPR, to the paramedics, the air ambulance crew, and all the medics and nurses at Harefield Hospital, they’ve all played an important part in my survival and recovery.

“It’s been a very emotional time for me, my wife and daughter, but I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped me, and to encourage others to learn the skills to save a life.

“It’s scary to think of what may have happened if Stephen hadn’t been passing.”

The community first responder scheme was established with London Ambulance Service in 2008.

Over the past two years LAS has sent the responders, trained in advanced first aid by St John Ambulance, to more than 12,000 emergencies.

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