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Learn CPR call from new dad whose life was saved after cardiac arrest

Published 18/05/2016

An expectant father whose life was saved by the Royal Derby Hospital after his heart stopped at the start of his normal workout has spoken out to urge people to learn the vital skills of CPR.

As a fit and healthy 40-year-old Simon Foote never expected to experience cardiac arrest, but his heart stopped beating without warning as he began a personal training session.

Thankfully, his personal trainer Neil Stanley was able to carry out CPR until paramedics arrived, but it was only when he got to the Royal Derby Hospital that doctors were able to stabilise his condition enough to reassure wife Dawn, who was 20 weeks pregnant at the time.

A year on, he is sure that without the quick actions of his friend and the care he received in hospital, he would not be here to tell the tale.

Simon, who is now 41, said: “I know I’m very lucky. We’re so thankful to all the people who helped. Without any one of those people, it could have been a very different story.”

Simon and Dawn, who live in Findern, have since learned how to perform CPR, and have made sure all staff in the businesses they run have learned to do the same.

He said: “Before this, we didn’t know what people can do to help those who suffer a cardiac arrest, but now I would encourage everyone to get some training in CPR, so they know what to do just in case. It saved my life, and it could save someone else’s.”

Simon spent a total of three-and-a-half months in hospital, receiving treatment for his heart and rehabilitation to combat the effects of oxygen starvation to his brain, which was caused by the cardiac arrest. He had to spend several weeks in Neuro-rehabilitation re-learning some basic skills which had deserted him as a result.

Dawn, 37, said: “At first he couldn’t read or remember the words for things, and his memory was really bad. He didn’t remember that I was pregnant. He had to learn a lot, but took it all in his stride. The support of friends and family in helping him through it was outstanding.”

Simon was discharged just eight weeks before his daughter Libby was born. Still recovering, he was unable to work, drive or get through the day without feeling tired. When Dawn went into labour, she had to drive herself to the hospital. A comfortable chair and blanket were set up in the labour room so Simon could rest ahead of the birth.

It was only when Libby arrived that the couple realised the enormity of what they had been through in recent months.  

Simon, who runs Simon Foote Architects in Derby, said: “Having a little one like this after such a major life event has given both of us a real positive focus. It’s amazing to think what we went through before she arrived. We both feel incredibly fortunate”

He has now made a full recovery, and the only lasting reminder of his experience is a defibrillator which has been fitted in his chest. The couple firmly believe his recovery is down to the quick actions of Simon’s trainer and the care he received at the Royal Derby Hospital.

Dr Kamal Chitkara, Consultant Cardiologist, said: “Simon was very lucky that his trainer was able to help. A patient’s chances of survival fall by 10-15 per cent for each minute of cardiac arrest. If someone can start CPR in the minutes after it happens, it can double or treble that patient’s chances of survival, and decrease the likelihood they will suffer severe brain damage.”



Foote family
Last Modified 18/05/2016