Tuesday 6th August 2013 – 2pm – Chris Kowalik.
A former professional cyclist who suffered a cardiac arrest has been reunited with the ambulance crews who helped save his life.
61 year old Ged Dennis from Blymhill near Weston-under-Lizard had cycled to a friend’s house in Sherrifhales on April 23rd to meet for a bike ride together when he collapsed.
His friend, Adrian Martin explained: “I rang Ged in the afternoon and asked if he fancied going out on the bike. It was a nice afternoon. Ged appeared, we had a chat and all of a sudden he collapsed and hit his head on the wall. He was out, stone cold. I ran to the phone and rang 999.”
First to arrive was paramedic Charlie Cambidge who fortunately, happened to be passing the town in a rapid response vehicle when the call came in. He arrived at the scene in 4 minutes.
Charlie picked up the story: “I was going to collect some equipment from Donnington ambulance hub and was at Priorslee when the call came through. It was fate that I was so close when the call came. It soon became apparent that this was a cardiac arrest.”
Arriving in an ambulance were Paramedics Donna Malcolm and Mick Harvey. Donna said: “Charlie was already on scene, had shocked Ged once and was doing CPR when we rocked up.” Two further shocks were delivered. Charlie added: “Then he was breathing for himself with a good heart rhythm and blood pressure. It was amazing to see.” Just 37 minutes after Adrian made the call, Ged was in Princess Royal Hospital where he stayed for ten days.
In July, Ged and Adrian met the crews of Charlie, Donna and Mick (pictured) at Ged’s home in Blymhill. They spoke of the good fortune of Charlie being available in the area at the time of the call and the speed with which he arrived. Mick said: “It shows you what fate is about.” Ged replied: “There’s somebody up there! I’m blown away! Every day is a real gift.” With only a small proportion of cardiac arrest victims making a full recovery, Charlie said: “It was so unique and so rare to have the response from a patient that you showed.”
Ged began his cycling career at the age of 12. He rode throughout the country as an amateur. After turning professional he lived in Belgium, France and Holland. He intends to continue cycling: “People say ‘what are you going to do?’ and I say ‘What do you want me to do, just turn over and die? Just pack it in?’ We’ll still go out and do 120 miles. I stopped cycling professionally when I was about 35 or 36. I do train now, it’s what we do just to keep fit.”
With a stent and internal defibrillator fitted, it wasn’t long before Ged was back on the road on two wheels. In mid-July he took part in the gruelling MAMIL (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) cycle event on the Shropshire Hills, covering 100 miles and, with its undulating terrain and route including Clee Hill and the Long Mynd, involving climbs totalling 15,000 feet.
“It was special for me because I’d had this …” said Ged, pointing at his chest “… and they were blown away that I had turned up. There were 500 people at the start and they made a bit of a presentation. It does make you feel good. They were a little bit in awe of it.”
Ged is now hoping his story will highlight the case for a defibrillator in Blymhill’s village hall.
Note to Editors: A cardiac arrest is not a “heart attack”.
Pictured left to right: Mick Harvey, Donna Malcolm, Charlie Cambidge, Ged Dennis, Adrian Martin. Please credit “West Midlands Ambulance Service” if using this picture.