Journal Staff


By Journal Staff

A 21-year-old student whose heart stopped beating as he jogged beside the Thames River has a stranger to thank for his life.

According to a story from the London Ambulance Service (LAS), NHS Trust, Maxi Ducam-Davies was running along the river just days before Christmas when he suffered a cardiac arrest. A passerby called 9-9-9 for an ambulance and a young woman, thought to be a medical student, immediately started chest compressions, continuing them until the first ambulance crew arrived six minutes later.

“I really want to find the girl who saved my life so I can say ‘thank you,’” said Ducam-Davies, who had never experienced any heart trouble in the past. “All I know is that she’s a medical student, but I don’t know anything else about her. I feel unbelievably lucky to be here now. To have been found on such a quiet footpath by somebody, let alone a medical student who could perform CPR, is very lucky. I owe this girl my life.”

Ducam-Davies isn’t alone in his belief.

EMT Edward Hyson, one of the first staff on scene, credited Ducam-Davies’ recovery to the importance of bystander CPR. “It ensured that the blood was kept circulating around his body, giving him the best chance of survival.”

Hyson said the incident emphasizes the urgency of calling 9-9-9 “straight away” and starting chest compressions when witnessing someone collapse and stop breathing. If possible, he added, someone should go in search of a defibrillator. London has more than 850 public access defibrillators with volunteers at these places trained in how to use them.

The latest figures from LAS show that from 2010–11, 31.7% of patients suffering an out-of-hospital, bystander-witnessed cardiac arrest and treated by ambulance staff were discharged alive from the hospital, compared to 10.9% from 2005–06.