21-year-old Ibrahim Akram, a second-year BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science student at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), was playing for his local cricket team, White Coppice, in late August when the opposing cricketer suddenly collapsed to the ground after making a run. Ibrahim, who was fielding on the boundary, swiftly rescognised the signs of cardiac arrest and knew the right actions could be the difference between life and death.
“While I was running in from the boundary edge, I sensed something was seriously wrong as players closer to him started to gather,” Ibrahim commented. “As I got there, I immediately recognised the signs of him going into cardiac arrest, so I prepared to start CPR while we got another player to ring 999.”
He placed the man, believed to be in his 60s, on his back and ensured a clear airway by tilting his head back. He observed that the man was gasping for air and had no pulse, prompting him to begin CPR immediately. Meanwhile, three other players rushed to the clubhouse to retrieve the public defibrillator.
“When the defibrillator arrived, I applied the pads to his bare chest and followed the instructions given by the device. It took 13 minutes of effective chest compressions and two shocks to resuscitate the patient. Thankfully, he opened his eyes and was talking to me before paramedics arrived,” said Ibrahim.
Ibrahim’s actions did not go unnoticed. His paramedic mentor, Lindsay Bentham, brought it to the attention of senior NWAS management.
Matt Dunn, Lancashire and Cumbria Consultant Paramedic presented him with the commendation saying, “On behalf of NWAS, thank you; you demonstrated skills and approaches which are exactly what our trust needs – calmness under pressure, willingness to be decisive and the ability to act.
Restart A Heart Day aims to raise awareness of cardiac arrests and is supported by NWAS as an opportunity to highlight the importance of learning CPR skills within the community.
Matt added, “It’s timely that we talk about this on Restart A Heart Day. “This example shows exactly the importance of understanding the situation, having life support skills, and not being afraid to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).
“Ibrahim was able to identify the cardiac arrest and the patient’s agonal breathing, which can be confused for normal breathing. He acted quickly and thankfully brought about a good outcome.”
NWAS Executive Medical Director Dr Chris Grant says, “Actions such as this should be seen as inspirational and potential drivers for change, highlighting the benefits of early intervention and defibrillation in the community.”
The patient, who required cardiac surgery, has made a remarkable recovery, and the White Coppice Cricket Club, alongside Ibrahim, is eager to meet him soon. In the wake of this incident, the club is dedicated to promoting the importance of defibrillators and hopes to inspire other village cricket clubs to invest in life-saving equipment.