Community First Responder saves friend's life

Jim and Alistair at the golf club

A Largs resident has thanked the Scottish Ambulance Service Community First Responder (CFR) who saved his life after he had a cardiac arrest at a golf club.

Jim Stevenson, 86, a retired general manager, was due to meet friend and Largs CFR, Alister Brown at Largs Golf Club on March 11.

When Jim arrived, he was “puffing and panting”, before he then collapsed.

Not recalling much on the day, Jim has paid his respects to Alister, and others who assisted, including an off-duty nurse

Jim said: “I went to the bar, was puffing and panting. I ordered two drinks. Sat down at the table, waited for Alister to come. I never touched a drop.

“I vaguely remember this image coming through the door, wearing a bright red pullover. I then went blank.

The next thing I know is, I’m on my back. I don’t know how long I was there; I’m surrounded by Alister, four paramedics, two ambulances outside, and other people, all working to keep me alive.

“Life-saving work on the spot. How lucky can you get? Alister is a first responder and a friend. If Alister hadn’t been there, to use the defib, I wouldn’t be here today. It’s simple – this is life-saving work.”

Alister, 73, retired teacher, has been a Community First Responder since 2007. Trained to deal with certain incidents - such as cardiac arrests and strokes - he immediately came to his friend’s aid.

“I walked across, took my jacket off, put it down on the table. I turned around to say ‘how are you doing?’ but it was obvious that things weren’t right. On further examination, Jim was not breathing. This is when my training, which is refreshed regularly, kicked in.

“So instantly, I got him on the floor, with assistance and started CPR. It was significant that CPR was started inside a minute, because obviously, as far as I could determine, he had just stopped breathing.”

One of the public access defibs on the premises - which Largs first responders have organised 14 of throughout the town - is on the outside wall of the golf club, so that was quickly deployed, and a 999 call was made.

Alister added: “One shock in, and that seemingly, did the trick because things started to happen and there were signs of survival. We monitored the situation and we were able to deploy one or two people to help, one of whom was a retired nurse, who was down at

Jim’s hand, and confirmed she could find a pulse and it was getting stronger, so we knew we were on the right road.”

Jim regained consciousness, just at the time the two ambulances arrived; they were staffed by which was staffed by Mark Finnie, Paramedic, Kilwinning Station, and a colleague, and Graeme Findlay, Paramedic, and Jason Slavin, Technician, both from Greenock Station.

Alister explained: “The planets aligned: CPR was started very quickly, there was a defib to hand, and Jim’s heart had a shockable rhythm. All these things came into play and I’m delighted to say it’s a happy outcome.

“My training was vital. I’d have to say, that if it had been one of my colleagues from Largs instead of me I’m pretty confident the outcome would’ve been the same.

The group training benefits us all. CFRs are a vital link to maintain the patient’s condition as much as possible and seek to improve it, prior to the arrival of the ambulance. It also allows us to liaise directly with ambulance control.”

Posted on 08/09/2022