Lucky man who suffered cardiac arrest in his gym thanks lifesavers four years on

Lucky man who suffered cardiac arrest in his gym thanks lifesavers four years on


A Derby man who went into cardiac arrest in his gym four years ago has finally met the team who saved his life.

Rolf Updale, 58, from Sawley was at CrossFit Deviant in Derby just before 8pm on 7 July, 2014, when he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.

Luckily for Rolf, at the time there was an off-duty fireman, a nurse and a physiotherapist also working out at the gym who immediately sprang into action, called 999 and started CPR.

Ambulance crew Rowan Hussain, Ian Roe and James Styring arrived within five minutes, saved Rolf’s life by shocking him four times with a defibrillator, and took him to Royal Derby Hospital where he had four stents fitted. 

Although it has taken Rolf a while to get back to full health, he arranged a work out session at his new gym - Lacemakers in Long Eaton - followed by tea and cake to thank everyone involved in saving his life.

Rowan Hussain, Clinical Operations Manager for Derbyshire, went along to the reunion and said that it was a pleasure to see Rolf again.

She said: “When I arrived on scene to help Rolf, both the nurse and physiotherapist were doing excellent CPR, which meant Rolf had the best chance of survival and I could focus on providing advanced life support.

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“It was wonderful to see Rolf looking fitter than ever, and he is a fantastic example to other cardiac arrest survivors.

“His positivity and determination really inspired me.

“Without quality CPR, Rolf probably wouldn’t be here today, so it is a vital skill that everyone should learn.”

Firefighter Tim Ball, nurse Jenny Roberts, and physiotherapist Ali Crewesmith who performed CPR on the day also attended the reunion and had the chance to meet

Rolf, a civil servant, explained that he had been moving a rowing machine when his heart stopped and he collapsed.

He said: “I’m a very lucky man. I received quality CPR, the ambulance crew arrived quickly, and I exercise regularly so I have a strong heart.

“Seeing Rowan again really put the cherry on the top of a happy and emotional morning. 

“What Rowan and her EMAS colleagues do, day in and day out, is nothing short of remarkable.”

Following Rolf’s battle to reach full health again, he would now like to mentor other people during their recovery from a cardiac arrest or heart attack.