Schoolboy lucky to be alive after suffering a cardiac arrest metres away from school

Schoolboy lucky to be alive after suffering a cardiac arrest metres away from school

Jack stood with responding team. From left to right: paramedic Ed Cannon, nurse Nova Charles, Jack Thompson, doctor Pete Watson, and 999 call handler Theresa Etheridge. All smiling at camera wearing uniform.
From left to right: paramedic Ed Cannon, nurse Nova Charles, Jack Thompson, doctor Pete Watson, and 999 call handler Theresa Etheridge.

A Bottesford schoolboy who suffered a cardiac arrest outside the school gates has been reunited with the ambulance crew, doctor and hospital nurse who saved his life.

Jack Thompson, who was 11 years old at the time, had just walked out of the school gates of The Priory Belvoir Academy, on 18 September last year, when he collapsed.

A concerned onlooker rang 999 for help. Luckily for Jack, an off-duty nurse called Nova Charles and GP Pete Watson were at the school collecting their own children so they rushed to help him.

Nova, who works at Nottingham City Hospital, said: “When I parked my car at the school I saw crowds gathering. As I got closer to the crowd I could see Jack laying on the floor and he was blue.

“I started to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and did mouth to mouth. I performed six rounds of CPR on him.”

Jack and Kieron stood together smiling in school uniform. Jack has arm around Keiron.
From left to right: Jack Jackson with Keiron Stanley. Jack raised the alarm and did some crowd control to ensure Jack Thompson had space while Keiron ran to the school to fetch the defibrillator.

While Nova carried out CPR, 15-year-old Keiron Stanley ran to collect a local defibrillator from the school, which was brought over to where Jack laid unconscious.

Keiron said: “The outcome is a miracle. The last time I saw him was when he was being taking away in the ambulance when he was at death’s door.

“I didn’t think he was going to survive. I was really scary.”

His friend, 15-year-old Jack Jackson, who was also on the scene said: “I saw him having a convulsion. I alerted people to this fact whilst at the same time getting people away, and getting people who knew what to do, to come over.

“Then 20 to 30 seconds passed by, which felt like a lifetime to me, but people then started to know what to do.

“I want to thank the ambulance service and everyone else who was involved in the response that day.”

Dr Pete Watson, a GP, said: “The defib, alongside the CPR, were the key elements in giving Jack a vital chance at survival. We administered a shock and we managed to get a heart rhythm back.” 

Soon afterwards EMAS technician Marcus Bryan and emergency care assistant Gemma Woolley arrived on the scene, alongside Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance crew Mark Folman and Lucy Hutton.

They were backed up by paramedic and clinical operations manager, Ed Cannon.

Ed said: "They were doing a great job and I was there to support and lead the team.

"Jack was quite agitated and he wasn't breathing for himself.

"He had a pulse but we were in a situation where his brain had been starved of oxygen so he started fitting again."

The crew gave him the relevant treatment on scene which meant that Jack stopped fitting and he could then be safely transported to the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.                             

Jack stood with parents. From left to right is mum, Heidi Thompson, Jack Thompson and dad, Rob Thompson, all smiling.
Jack Thompson pictured with his mum Heidi Thompson and dad Rob Thompson

He was later diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which is a heart condition which affects the walls of the heart chambers meaning they can become stretched, thickened, or go stiff.

He has since had an ICD unit fitted into his heart which regulates irregular heart rhythms and can administer tiny shocks without Jack being aware that it is happening.

Jack, who is now 12, said: “What has happened to me really hasn’t phased me. I’m just really excited to meet everyone who saved my life.”

In the UK, there are more than 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests each year and survival rates are low. Less than 10% of patients experiencing a cardiac arrest will survive to be discharged from hospital.