Calls for CPR training in schools after neighbours save Leeds man's life

A man who says he owes his life to his neighbours is calling for CPR training to be given in all schools and workplaces.

John Kelly, 70, a retired NHS worker, collapsed and stopped breathing at his home in Leeds while his wife Hazel was out shopping in May.

It was only thanks to the intervention of neighbours Ann Longden and Garry Watson that he survived what turned out to be a cardiac arrest.

Mr Kelly said: "One in ten people who have cardiac arrests at home don't survive. So if they hadn't been there, that would have been it. I was so, so lucky."

Ms Longden had dropped in to check on Mr Kelly while his wife was out because he had been feeling unwell. She was with him when he collapsed.

She said: "He wasn't breathing and I knew he was gone. I rang the ambulance, they said I had to get him on the floor to do CPR. I am trained in it but I couldn't get him on the floor, as he's six foot tall."

She raised the alarm with Mr Watson, who works in a care home and had recently learned CPR.

He added: "It's different doing it in real life. They say you have to do it really hard for it to work, and I did break two of his ribs. It's not often you can break your neighbour's ribs and they thank you for it!"

Four minutes later, Yorkshire Ambulance staff arrived at Mr Kelly's house. Paramedics found he had a cardiac arrest and said the CPR had saved his life. 

Mr Watson said: "It was tiring, but what was spurring me on was my dad. Two years ago he died from a heart attack and I wasn't there to save him. This was for him too. I think he'd have been proud."

John now has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, which sends electrical impulses to regulate his heart should it ever happen again.

Mr and Mrs Kelly and their neighbours now want to see CPR become part of the national curriculum. 

Mrs Kelly said: "We are incredibly grateful. Not many people know that there's a difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest.

"Heart attacks you can sometimes see coming as you get the pain. But cardiac arrests are electrical faults, you don't really get warning.

"So it's imperative that people can do CPR because the person having the cardiac arrest probably wouldn't be able to do anything to prevent it.''

Mr Kelly now has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, which sends electrical impulses to regulate his heart should he suffer a cardiac arrest in future.

There is more information on how to perform CPR on the St John Ambulance website.

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