Leicester City fan who suffered cardiac arrest at Champions League match meets team who saved his life
A lifelong Foxes fan who went into cardiac arrest during the Champions League match against Sevilla has been reunited with some of the 20 people who saved his life.
Jim Blockley, 51, a builder from Glenfield, collapsed in front of 31,000 football fans at 8.45pm on Tuesday, 14 March, and was in cardiac arrest as his team scored the winning goal.
Crews from EMAS providing advanced medical cover at the match worked tirelessly with members of St John Ambulance Service to save Jim’s life.
As it was a very complicated cardiac arrest, our paramedics had to manage the scene and it took ongoing CPR, numerous drugs and the skills of all the paramedics, ambulance crew and the doctor to revive Jim.
Today, Jim was reunited at the King Power Stadium in Leicester with most of the team who saved his life so he could say thank you to them.
He said: “What can you say to the people who saved your life other than thank you.
“I was very lucky. If I had suffered a cardiac arrest at home I might not be here today.”
It was EMAS Events Manager Cliff Ward who received the call in the control room to say that a Leicester fan had collapsed and so he orchestrated the medical response which saved his life.
He said: “It was a real team effort and a successful resuscitation which results in Jim being able to go home to his family and also come back to Leicester City and watch his team on many more occasions.”
Jim explained that on that fateful day he had begun feeling strange so his partner of 28 years, Ruth Lelacheur, attracted the attention of Nigel Marston, manager of the North Stand on match days.
Jim said: “I remember saying to the steward ‘I don’t feel too clever’ and I just collapsed and the next thing I remember was waking up in intensive care in Glenfield.”
Nigel said: “We started walking towards the medical stand at the East Stand, and he said he was struggling to breathe, and then his face went lifeless and he fell forward. I put the call out on the radio to get him the medical attention he needed.
Chris Powell, 57, a St John Ambulance volunteer, was the closest person to Jim when he collapsed and so was the first person to begin CPR. He was quickly joined by EMAS crew Dougie King and Monica Dicken, off-duty firefighter Caz Whiteman, crowd doctor Joe Whitton, and other St John volunteers.
He said: “As I put my finger on his pulse, it stopped and I knew he was in cardiac arrest.”
A defibrillator was attached to Jim and he was given one shock, but his heart was then in a non-shockable rhythm and so the team had to rely on adrenaline administered by the doctor and CPR. His heart was not beating properly for 51 minutes.
EMAS paramedics Carol Barry and Lyn Ball prepared an ambulance for Jim and continued providing advanced medical care on the way to hospital. He received another 17 shocks while in hospital.
Jim was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary and later transferred to Glenfield General Hospital.
When he woke up in hospital, the first thing he asked was ‘what is the score?’ and was delighted to hear the Foxes had beat Sevilla 2-0, even though he had missed the winning goal.
The club stewards were also praised for their efforts as they ensured our paramedics had a sterile and protected space at the side of the pitch where they could treat Jim.
Jim and his family are now trying to raise £1,200 to buy another defibrillator for the community to make sure one is available next time someone needs one.
Jim’s partner Ruth said: “We just want to say a massive thank you to everyone for getting our family back together. I cannot describe how grateful we are.
“We want to buy another defibrillator for within Leicester as people do not realise how important they are until they need one.”
Anyone who would like to donate can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/defibrillatorfunding