16 April 2024

Quick-thinking first aid trainer helps save life of school visitor

by Tim Nuttall

The importance of learning CPR was demonstrated in dramatic fashion at Roos C of E Primary School when the quick-thinking actions of a clinical trainer helped to save the life of another visitor to the school.

While on site to deliver first aid training, former paramedic Tony Megson was called on to help a fellow visitor who was taken ill.

Tony said: “One of the staff came to say that a visitor was unwell and asked if I could take a look. While I was examining him he went into cardiac arrest, so I administered CPR and used the school’s defibrillator to restart his heart. The gentleman regained consciousness and was breathing independently when the ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.”

Aimee Christian, head teacher at the school, said, “We are eternally grateful for the support and expertise given by Tony on this day. His excellence in the field was clear to see and his calm manner ensured that we felt able to support the visitor and his colleagues with confidence. Tony undoubtedly saved this man’s life.

“All staff are first aid-trained too and again this proved invaluable as we were able to assist Tony. We also have some upcoming training planned with pupils in years five and six which will teach them the basics of first aid and life-saving.”

After joining the East Riding Ambulance Service as a cadet in 1971, Tony qualified as a paramedic in the 1980s – becoming the first paramedic in Holderness and later one of the first to work in a response car. Further progression at various times saw him become a field based assessor and paramedic instructor, while also taking on various managerial roles.

An injury at work forced an early retirement from the Ambulance Service after a 47-year career. Since then, Tony has become a trainer with the CHCP (City Health Care Partnership). He also owns and operates his own first aid training business, Big Bandage East Riding, and remains a HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council)-registered paramedic.

Tony added: “Everyone I teach I tell them that they, as the first person on the scene, are the most important person in the ‘chain of survival’. If they recognise what is happening and act appropriately, they stay safe and the casualty stands the best chance of recovery.”

More than 30,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest out of hospital in the UK every year. The earlier a patient can receive CPR and a shock from a defibrillator, the greater their chance of survival.

One of the most prominent annual initiatives teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the Yorkshire Ambulance Service’s Restart a Heart day. Held on or around October 16, the initiative is supported by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Charity and delivered in partnership with the Resuscitation Council (UK), British Heart Foundation (BHF) and St John Ambulance.

Restart a Heart day provides a platform for ambulance services around the country to work with volunteers in schools to deliver CPR training. Last year, more than 35,000 students at 166 schools in Yorkshire benefited from this training.

For more information and resources, visit bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/how-to-save-a-life.