Former Aylsham Football Club captain and paramedic Dale Gedge was back at work today after he and others saved the life of a competitor who suffered a cardiac arrest in yesterday’s Run Norwich 10K road race.
Dale, 34, sprang over the barriers and raced to help after seeing a man collapse a few metres from him on Theatre Street, close to the finish line.
“As soon as he hit the ground it was quite obvious it was not just exhaustion but something more serious,” said Dale, who grew up in Aylsham, attended Aylsham High School and who has been a paramedic for 10 years.
“When I got to him he wasn’t breathing, had no pulse and was unconscious. My training kicked in. At that point Jacob, one of the event medics, came to see what he could do to help too. We started CPR. I got the defibrillator pads on the man – I assume Jacob had brought the defibrillator – and delivered a shock.
“Then an armed response vehicle police officer arrived with a medi pack. I secured the patient’s airways while the police officer handed me everything when I requested it.
“After a bit more CPR, he started breathing again – it’s just incredible, amazing, when that happens. We had only shocked him once. I’ve been to hundreds of cardiac arrests in my time as a paramedic and it usually takes several minutes to get to the place where it’s happened.
“But on this occasion the patient was receiving CPR within about 30 seconds and the defibrillator arrived about a minute after he collapsed. That meant the odds went from being massively against him to being in his favour.”
The victim, Tim Warner, 53, from Dereham, had then regained consciousness and began talking. By the time he was carried into the ambulance he had even managed to wave at the concerned crowds, according to Dale.
Mr Warner is understood to be recovering in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
“I don’t normally see a cardiac arrest happen – we arrive there later – so it was all a bit surreal for me,” Dale added.
News of the drama had spread widely today and Dale said he had received some “lovely messages” via social media.
He stressed that he was one of several people who had helped Mr Warner and added that the CPR skills he had used could, and should, be learned by everyone.
“They’re not paramedic skills,” he said. “Anyone can learn CPR and be ready to help in a situation like that.”
He was also keen for communities to make sure there are defibrillators near at hand. “If a defib had been 10 minutes away, there could have been a very different outcome,” he said.
He praised Aylsham Football Club for having its own defibrillator at the club. Dale was club captain but hung up his boots two months ago after a long playing career in Aylsham.
“I’ll just be playing socially in future,” he said, “and going along to support the boys.”