Cardiac arrest survivor meets staff who helped save his life


Wednesday 4th October 2017 – 10.15am – Jamie Arrowsmith.

“Without them – I would not be here today and I cannot thank them enough.”

These are the words two Staffordshire-based members of staff heard last Wednesday (Sept 27) when they were reunited with a patient who had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Chris Rowley (70) from Stoke, was undertaking his regular gym workout at 21st Century Leisure on Davenport Street when the incident occurred in January this year. Paramedic Matt Harrison and Technician Ryan Slater were first on scene and on their arrival found gym owner, Nick Lovell, already performing CPR.

Matt and Ryan were quickly backed up by a second crew, Paramedic Helen Elson and Technician Elaine Webster. With CPR continuing as well as the use of a defibrillator, advanced life support was also administered, all of which allowed Chris’ heart to be successfully restarted.

He remained in a serious condition throughout the journey to Royal Stoke University Hospital but thankfully went on to make a full recovery and after two weeks was able to return home.


Chris, who turned 70 recently, said: “I’d come to the gym as normal and had nearly finished my work-out for the day, but that’s the last thing I remember. Next thing I know, later that same day, I find myself waking up in hospital.

“Obviously I gradually started to understand what had happened and everything that people had done for me and it’s quite incredible really. Without Nick starting CPR and the work of the ambulance crews, I would not be here to tell this story, I cannot thank people enough, including all of the staff at the hospital.”

Paramedic Matt, added: “We arrived to find Nick performing really good CPR which is of the utmost importance in a situation like this and has played a huge part in saving Chris’ life.

“We, as ambulance staff, often get referred to as heroes, but I don’t believe we are. The real heroes from my point of view are the people that are willing to do what Nick has done, stand out from the crowd and be willing to do CPR – ultimately, saving Chris’ life.

“It’s fantastic to see Chris today and see how well he is doing, we don’t often get to discover what has happened to patients we have treated so seeing Chris fit and well having returned to his normal daily life is great.”

The importance of early CPR was a point backed up by Ryan, who said: “If we walk in to a patient and someone is doing CPR, it is a massive help to us and gives the patient a better chance of survival.

“Every second counts, so the sooner chest compressions are started the chance of survival, even though still small, is much greater. In this situation, CPR was started almost immediately and the outcome was absolutely amazing.

“Everyone should learn to do CPR, it is a really easy thing to do and it could help you save someone’s life.

“Also, if people can find where there nearest defibrillator is, this could prove vital in saving someone’s life. They tell you what to do, there is absolutely no need to be scared of trying to use one.”

Gym owner Nick, added: “I found Chris slumped over one of the exercise bikes. I managed to lie him down on the floor and discovered his heart was not beating.

“I began doing CPR and rescue breaths, which, thankfully I knew from St John Ambulance training and several other first aid courses I have attended.

“I’m really pleased that everything has gone well for Chris and his family, it is brilliant to see.

“Everyone should learn how to do CPR, there’s no excuse. It is not expensive or difficult to learn and you could save someone’s life.

“Following Chris’ incident we started fund-raising to purchase a defibrillator which is now installed in the gym and on the wall ready to use should we ever need it….but hopefully we don’t.”


Notes to Editors: If using the images or videos, please credit them to West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Image 1 – Chris Rowley with WMAS Paramedic Matt Harrison (left) and Technician Ryan Slater.

Image 2 – (l-r) WMAS Paramedic Matt Harrison, Chris Rowley, Valda Rowley (Chris’ wife), Ryan Slater, Nick Lovell (21st Century Leisure Gym Owner).

Video 1: Chris Rowley and Paramedic Matt Harrison.

Video 2: Gym owner Nick Lovell and Technician Ryan Slater.

Video 3: Paramedic Matt Harrison and Technician Ryan Slater.

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