Cyclist who suffered cardiac arrest praises helicopter medics for saving his life

This video contains distressing images

A man who had a cardiac arrest while out cycling has praised the air ambulance crew who helped save his life. 

Paul Maycock had been riding his bike along the A20 in West Kingsdown, Kent, on 9 April 2020 when he blacked out. 

He was later told his heart had stopped, leading to a crash in which he fractured his skull. Passing drivers stopped and began administering CPR before the emergency services arrived. 

“The first paramedics arrived by road, so they took over and used a defibrillator on me to get my heart going,” Paul explained. 

“Then the air ambulance arrived, and landed somewhere close to where I was. They then took over looking after me, put me into a coma and airlifted me off to King’s College Hospital.”

Paul believes that the response by Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) made a “huge difference” to his survival and that his “only regret” is that he doesn’t remember the helicopter ride. 

Last year the air ambulance charity covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex responded to more missions than ever before.

KSS has revealed that 2022 was the busiest in its 33-year history, with its helicopters and cars responding to 3,224 incidents.

The extra workload has also led to increased costs, with the service spending £16.6m last year, the equivalent of £45,000 per day. That represents an increase of more than £1m compared to 2021. 

The charity’s chief executive, David Welch, said: “KSS provides a vital life-saving service, bringing the emergency room to the scene of an incident and delivering the best possible outcomes to patients in need of critical care. Sadly, the demand for our service is at an all-time high and we need to keep fundraising in order to keep our service fully operational 24/7.”

Air Ambulance Paramedic, Craig Prentice, said: “Last year did feel busier, we were doing more jobs through the day, working harder through the night. 

“Cardiac arrests, heart attacks, strokes – we’re seeing patients on the worst day of their lives. It’s an absolute honour and privilege to come to work and be able to deliver our service to them. It is tough but highly rewarding.”

The vast majority of the charity’s funding comes from public donations, with only around 10% made up from NHS and other government grants.