Off-duty paramedic saves woman at the gym

Paramedic Mark Syson meets Mary Harris and her husband Richard Harris Photo:

An off-duty paramedic has been reunited with a woman whose life he saved after she suffered a cardiac arrest at the gym.

Mary Harris, from Easington Village, was training when she felt a pain and collapsed on the treadmill.

North East Ambulance Service paramedic Mark Syson was also working out at the same time.

He saw Mary slumped on the treadmill, which was still running and administered CPR. He pumped Mary's chest while they waited for an ambulance.

Mary has since had an operation to replace her aortic valve, and is recovering. The surgeon who performed the operation described her as “the luckiest woman alive.”

“I was nervous and slightly embarrassed when meeting Mary and Richard for the first time since the incident. As a paramedic we don’t normally meet our patients again or their families after they are taken to hospital. It was lovely to see both of them again and especially Mary who seemed in good spirits regardless of what had happened.

“It makes you feel very humble and I’m so pleased I was able to help Mary when she needed it. I wish Mary and her all family all the best.”

– Paramedic Mark Syson

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Mary was overjoyed to meet up with Mark. He's playing down his role but all the specialists have said unequivocally Mary would have died if he hadn't been there.

“He felt strange meeting someone he has "worked on" because usually the patient goes into the hospital and that is that, however, I said to him you must feel good knowing you've saved a life and meeting that person again.

“I hope he gets some recognition for his actions because at this incident there was no resuscitator available, as there would be if he was attending an incident when on duty, it was just his prompt action and effective CPR that revived Mary. She's recovering well and very grateful to still be alive.”

– Mary's husband Richard