QUICK-THINKING Matt King leapt into action and saved his best friend Lee Gerrard’s life after he collapsed and stopped breathing for 40 minutes.
Former soldier Matt, 33, carried out life-saving hands-only CPR just moments after Lee, 32, started foaming at the mouth and fell backwards as he suffered a major cardiac arrest.
Now Lee’s family and his pregnant fiancee Kellie Barrett, 34, are heaping praise on Matt for bringing their loved one back from the brink of death.
Matt, a salesman, said: ‘We were having a cup of tea and he started foaming at the mouth and collapsed.
‘I thought he was messing around – he wasn’t, he was dying.
‘The only thing in my mind was trying to get him alive so he could see his baby.’
Matt called 999 and did chest compressions as Kellie, a claims handler, watched on in horror at her home in Chichester Road, North End, Portsmouth.
‘The call handler gave me the rhythm,’ added Matt, of Heather Close, Gosport.
‘It’s all I was focusing on – hoping he would breathe. It was the worst experience of my life.’
Lee collapsed on Kellie when she went to help in their back garden just minutes before the trio were going to a pub.
She said: ‘If Matt hadn’t been there that day it could have been so different.
‘He didn’t stop once, he knew what he was doing. He was so calm. I was going through all the emotions and thinking “is this baby not going to have a dad?”.
‘I’m so grateful. You wouldn’t think anything had happened now.’
Doctors at QA had warned Kellie and Lee’s mum Lesley, 63, of Elson Road, Gosport, that he may have brain damage.
Lesley said: ‘They told me I’d probably never get my son back again.
‘But he’s exactly as he was, that’s all thanks to Matt.’
Lee’s unborn child will now take Matt as its middle name – if the baby is a boy.
Lee, who was sent home on Thursday, said: ‘I’ll be in debt to him forever.
‘It’s unbelievable, you don’t realise how good your mates are.’
Paramedics rushed to Lee and Kellie and later took over chest compressions before using a defibrillator around seven times to start his heart.
Lee was rushed to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham and was put in a medically-induced coma for two days.
He regained consciousness and was reunited with his family.
He has since been fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, a device that will shock his heart if it goes out of rhythm. The cause of the arrest on September 7 has not been discovered.
Man followed 999 call handler’s instructions
THE ambulance service has praised a man who saved his best friend’s life after a call handler talked him through carrying out CPR.
Neil Cook, area manager at South Central Ambulance Service, said it was vital Matt King carried out life-saving treatment as soon as he could on his friend Lee Gerrard.
Mr Cook said: ‘We are really pleased to hear that the patient is making a good recovery from such a life threatening situation. In situations such as this it is vital early CPR is started as soon as possible.
‘Fortunately for the patient his friend was on hand and was able to follow the instructions of our call handler to carry out effective CPR prior to the arrival of our emergency resources.
‘On arrival our crews were able to work together to deliver life-saving treatment to the patient which, along with early CPR, gave the patient the best chance of survival.
‘We would like to praise the patient’s friend and family for their actions that day during what, I am sure, was a traumatic day for all involved.
‘I would like to wish the patient all the best in his continued recovery.’
Paramedics used a defibrillator to start Lee’s heart.
Cardiac arrest survival rate is less than nine per cent
PEOPLE who suffer cardiac arrests outside a hospital have a low chance of survival and CPR is vital to save a patient’s life.
June Davison, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said such an attack – where the heart stops pumping blood around the body – has an 8.6 per cent survival rate.
She said: ‘Unless someone starts doing CPR, organs shut down and people can suffer brain damage.
‘CPR helps to keep blood and oxygen around the body and keep the brain receiving the blood and oxygen it needs. You are keeping that person alive.’
Learn how to do CPR to help save someone’s life
PEOPLE can save lives if they learn how to do a hands-only life-saving procedure.
The British Heart Foundation and Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham are calling on people to learn how to a simpler method of CPR, which normally sees someone do mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions.
But with hands-only CPR you do not do mouth-to-mouth.
June Davison, a senior cardiac nurse from British Heart Foundation, said: ‘People should really be trained how to do this.’
The BHF found some members of the public are put off by doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
It said hard and fast chest compressions keep the heart pumping blood, getting oxygen around the body. This is better than stopping for ineffective rescue breaths.
QA is demonstrating resuscitation. It runs from 10am to 4pm on October 16. For BHF training see bhf.org.uk