Heroic pair save man’s life a week after first aid training

Sean Devine, left, and Ryan Kearney showed cool heads in an emergency. Picture:  Malcolm McCurrach
Sean Devine, left, and Ryan Kearney showed cool heads in an emergency. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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A SCHOOLBOY has been hailed a hero after saving a man’s life using skills he learned only a week before.

St David’s High School pupil Ryan Kearney, 16, from Mayfield, was a passenger in his 17-year-old friend Sean Devine’s car when the boys noticed an almost unconscious man slumped at a bus stop.

Sean brought the car to a halt and Ryan, who had completed his lifeguard training the previous week, jumped out and put his new skills to good use.

While Sean called an ambulance, Ryan put the middle-aged man – who had suffered a heart attack – into the recovery position.

S5 pupil Ryan said: “I was surprised at how quickly the CPR procedure training kicked in.

“I put the man in the recovery position and assessed his breathing. It all happened so fast, we didn’t really have time to think about it, we just reacted.

“One minute we were on our way back from football and chatting and the next we saw this guy lying on the floor at a bus stop, not moving. He was in a bad way, slumped over and coughing and he looked almost unconscious.”

As the emergency services stayed on the line with Ryan giving them regular updates on the patient’s breathing, his friend was doing his bit to keep the man warm and give him reassurance that specialist help was on its way.

An ambulance arrived just minutes later and the crew praised the boys for their swift action in helping save the man’s life.

Ryan, who hopes to follow a career in sports science when he leaves school, added: “I was nervous at the time as I didn’t know how seriously ill the man was. When I got home and told my mum what had happened, she was shocked – she was really proud though.

“A week before I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do to help the guy. It’s strange how it all panned out.

“That’s the only time I’ve ever had to use my CPR training. I’m glad to have had it although I never for a minute thought I’d be putting it to use as soon as that.”

He added: “I’m not carried away with it though, that’s what my training was for after all.”

The pair’s heroic actions have drawn praise from seasoned paramedics who
applauded their “quick thinking” and coolness under 
pressure.

John Alexander, the head of service for Midlothian, Scottish Ambulance Service, said: “Ryan and Sean did exactly the right thing and showed real presence of mind to put their first aid training into practice.

“Our 999 call takers give ongoing medical advice to callers so that they can provide early help for the patient while the ambulance is on the way.”

Ryan recently completed his National Pool Lifeguard Qualification. He was funded on the course by Newbattle 
Community Sports Hub and now works as a volunteer lifeguard at Top Up swimming lessons held every Sunday at Newbattle High School.

He also recently landed a part-time role as a lifeguard at Mayfield Leisure Centre.

Councillor Derek Rosie, Midlothian cabinet member for sport and leisure, praised the pair following last October’s drama.

He said: “Ryan and Sean are real heroes. I’m delighted the lifeguard course has been put to such good use already. Well done.”

Last December, the News revealed how former SPL star David Bingham helped save the life of a coach who collapsed with a heart attack during a training session.

Players watched in horror as Stevie Adamson keeled over while putting Lowland League side Preston Athletic through their paces.

davidoleary@edinburghnews.com