Medic saves mountain bike racer after heart attack

First aid expert Dan Parkin helped save David McArthur's life. Picture: Cascade News
First aid expert Dan Parkin helped save David McArthur's life. Picture: Cascade News
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A MEDIC rode to the rescue after a fellow competitor “died” during a mountain bike race through the Borders.

David McArthur, 41, went into cardiac arrest after speeding to the top of a hill last week.

One moment I was trying to get ahead and away from them. The next, they had caught up with me and were saving my life.

David McArthur

He fell from his bike and was lying motionless at the summit of the remote glen.

Moments later, two fellow racers – including first-aid expert Dan Parkin from Dunbar – who had been chasing him up the slope, stopped and saved his life.

Offshore worker Mr McArthur is now recovering at home in Fife and said his life was saved by the quick thinking of Mr Parkin and anaesthetist Matt Baird.

Mr Parkin, 42, said: “I compressed David’s chest up and down to pump his heart and Matt administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

“At one point I feared he wouldn’t make it. David came back for a moment or two and then his heart stopped again.”

Mr McArthur lay lifeless for at least four minutes when rescuers from Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue team arrived with a defibrillator to shock him to life.

“We managed to restart his heart but it stopped again,” said deputy team leader Dave Wright.

“He was incredibly lucky because not everyone survives.

“We got him off the hill and to a waiting ambulance helicopter which flew him to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.”

Cardiologists diagnosed a seriously narrowed artery cutting off the blood supply to his heart.

“I was so lucky I ‘died’ only yards from medics,” Mr McArthur said.

“If I had suffered an arrest out on my own on the bike I would be dead now. I owe my life to Matt and Dan.

“Without them, I would not be here today.

“It was amazingly bad luck to suffer a major cardiac arrest at just 41. I thought I was super-healthy.

“One moment I was trying to get ahead and away from them. The next, they had caught up with me and were saving my life.”

Cycling fanatic Mr McArthur is back home with wife Sharron and eight-year-old daughter Tori – and is already plotting his return to the saddle.

He said: “Doctors have discounted any serious heart fault. They opened the artery and inserted a stent to stop it shutting again. I got out of hospital in four days.

“My next cycling event will be a fundraiser for the mountain rescue guys and air ambulance.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com