Man saved by defibrillator a year before Eriksen's collapse says everyone should know how to use one

The two men have very different lives, but are both still here thanks to a heart-starting device. Credit: Instagram / Christian Eriksen

A man whose life was saved by a defbrillator says he believes everyone should know how to use one - weeks after footballer Christian Eriksen was resuscitated on the pitch.

Mazhar Farid, from Newport, suffered a cardiac arrest last year but was saved by paramedics who shocked him twice with the heart-starting device.

Mr Farid told ITV News you "never know" when you might be called upon to save someone's life, and says basic resuscitation skills should be taught to everyone.

On June 12, Danish midfielder Eriksen, 29, collapsed on the pitch after suffering a cardiac arrest during his side's Euro 2020 opener against Finland.

He was treated with a pitch-side defibrillator as his teammates formed a huddle around him, and at one point was said to be "gone" by Denmark's team doctor.

Eriksen has since been discharged from hospital after a successful operation to fit a defibrillator implant.

Danish footballer Christian Eriksen is carried away on a stretcher after collapsing on the pitch. Credit: PA Images

Mr Farid, a building surveyor, began to feel seriously unwell during the first lockdown of the pandemic in April 2020.

Aged 49 at the time, and not a smoker or drinker, his first thought was that he might have coronavirus.

"I was overheating, finding it hard to breathe and my arms were heavy," he said.

"After an hour or so the pain in my chest was only getting worse. I knew something was wrong, so I called an ambulance."

Mazhar Farid was saved by a defibrillator after going into cardiac arrest in April 2020.

Mr Farid remembers telling paramedics that the level of pain he was in was approaching '10 out of 10', before he passed out. He later found out he had been in cardiac arrest.

“I was told the paramedics started giving me CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) immediately and shocked me twice with a defibrillator to get my heart beating normally again," he said.

"A third paramedic was called to continue CPR while I was driven to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

“The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the cardiac rehabilitation ward wondering what on earth had happened."

Defibrillators are becoming more common in public places. Credit: PA Images

Figures show more than 6,000 people have a cardiac arrest in Wales every year, but only 56% of adults say they would know what to do to help in that situation.

However, there has been a sharp rise in people wanting to learn more about defibrillators since Christian Eriksen's collapse, according to the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Figures show that using a defibrillator and CPR within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest can improve survival rates by up to 70%.

Christian Eriksen shared this photograph from his hospital bed whilst recovering. Credit: Instagram / Christian Eriksen

Tomos Hughes, from the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: "[Eriksen] was very, very lucky that medics were on the pitch side.

"They were able to run across the pitch, start CPR and deliver that vital defibrillator shock needed within minutes.

"And that's what we're trying to do across Wales."

Mr Farid says he is incredibly grateful to the paramedics who saved him, but says any one of us could be called upon to save a life.

"You never know when you'll need [to] - whether it's going to be a friend, a close family member, or a complete stranger. And you can't rely on thinking someone else might know how," he said.

"Having defibrillators available and within close proximity, and learning how to use one - it's a life skill. If you ever have to use it, you'll potentially have saved someone's life. And that's some accolade to carry with you."

The Welsh Government website has details on its campaign to get more people trained on using a defibrillator and performing CPR.

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