A FATHER-of-three whose life was saved by a quick-thinking passer-by when he suffered a cardiac arrest while out jogging has joined the calls for wider access to defibrillators.
Fit and healthy 48-year-old Jeremy Southam was finishing up a ten-mile run when he suddenly collapsed in Traquair Park East, Corstorphine, on July 5.
The keen runner – who had no family history of heart disease – was lying lifeless on the ground when Robert Cramb and his wife Ann drove by and rushed to his aid.
Robert, 58, of Saughton, said: “I was coming along the road and I saw someone lying on his back in jogging gear.
“He was breathing and moving at that point but I very clearly saw things weren’t right.”
Jeremy suddenly stopped breathing and Robert, who had never administered CPR before, had to give chest compressions for around eight minutes before the paramedics arrived.
The NHS clerical officer said: “I didn’t have time to think – I just did it. Everything just seemed so calm. No-one was getting excited or agitated.
“Thankfully Jeremy was the fighter he was and he just wanted to breathe.”
Paramedics arrived shortly after and immediately used a defibrillator to restart Jeremy’s heart.
Robert said: “They gave him a massive jolt of electricity and he actually jumped off the ground.
“It was the first time I have seen a defibrillator close up and it was quite an eye-opener.
“They put him into the ambulance and I could see he was breathing then. I knew he had a good chance.”
Jeremy, also of Saughton, doesn’t remember anything until he woke up at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary three days later.
Before he was discharged, Jeremy had an operation to fit an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) into his chest to monitor his heart rhythm and deliver a shock if it starts to beat abnormally.
Once back on his feet, the construction supplies manager wanted to find the man who saved his life and two weeks later the pair were united for an emotional meeting.
Jeremy said: “It was amazing to meet Robert. I am lucky he stopped and was prepared to do something as a lot of people wouldn’t.
“I have a wife and three children, and elderly parents, and it would have affected all of them.”
Backing the Shockingly Easy campaign, Jeremy said: “The doctors said there was nothing wrong with my heart to cause this.
“This can happen to anyone, at any time and that is why we want defibrillators in more places.”
There was no defibrillator close at hand, which meant waiting vital extra minutes until the ambulance arrived, Robert said.
The pair have become firm friends since the encounter, often chatting to share news or meeting up for dinner.
Jeremy even nominated Robert for a Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificate in honour of his brave intervention.
Dick Wilkinson, the Royal Humane Society’s secretary, said: “It was undoubtedly thanks to his efforts that Mr Southam survived.”
The Royal Humane Society is the premier national body for honouring bravery in saving lives.