A 16-year-old boy who saved his neighbour’s life with CPR after going into “autopilot mode” has been recognised by the Princess Royal.
Joshua Youngs, a cadet at St John Ambulance and his mother Kirsty Youngs, 40, heard screaming from outside their home in Ipswich in November 2022 and ran outside to investigate the commotion.
Ms Youngs, a former midwife and now an emergency worker, brought along her response kit and the two arrived at their neighbour’s house to find her slumped over a chair, her skin blue and breathing laboured.
A year after helping to save her life, Joshua was honoured along with other young lifesavers at the St John Ambulance’s annual Young Achievers awards, which was attended by Anne, the Princess Royal.
Joshua said: “Our neighbour had a cardiac arrest and was slumped over the side of the sofa chair.
“I did my primary survey and checked the danger on the floor … so I cleared some room on the floor.”
The neighbour had a “very thready” heartbeat, and the young cadet started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while his mother called the emergency services.
“As most people would be, I was a little bit nervous just before starting CPR, but that was more just being in a strange environment,” Joshua said.
“But it was kind of like I went into autopilot mode… everything just came naturally.
“I had practised CPR on a dummy loads of times in training but this was different.
“I didn’t question it, though, I didn’t have time, so I just got on and did it.
“It was almost like making a cup of tea and stirring it, you just do it.
“I was confident in my own ability, and I didn’t really think about it so I must have been confident.”
An ambulance arrived within minutes and Joshua continued CPR until his neighbour had been successfully treated.
The teenager helped calm down his neighbour who was “worried” and burst into tears after regaining consciousness.
He said: “One of the people [at the scene] said had I not shown up and started CPR then the results might have been different.”
The young cadet’s mother said: “If Josh hadn’t been there it would have been much more difficult to help. He was so calm and so professional. He took everything in his stride.
“I come from a family of healthcare workers, and I’ve been in the sector since my early 20s.
“I remember responding to my first cardiac arrest and it was incredibly difficult.
“For Joshua to take control of the situation and respond in the way he did, I’m honestly so incredibly proud of him.”
Joshua, who is hoping to become a neurosurgeon, was honoured along with other young lifesavers at the St John Ambulance’s annual Young Achievers awards on Wednesday in London.
The event celebrated outstanding contributions by St John Ambulance Badgers (aged five to 10) and Cadets (aged 11-17), as well as young carers.
The 16-year-old said it was an honour being recognised by the Princess Royal and attributed his life-saving skills to St John Ambulance.
He said: “St John was absolutely amazing … I would recommend it to many people, it’s definitely something that people should take up.
“You never would think I would have to do CPR but all of a sudden it was my neighbour, but it could honestly be anyone.”
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