Dad hails defibrillator and staff who saved his life

Iain Gunn, left, and colleague Alistair McKean, who gave him CPR. Picture: Jane Barlow
Iain Gunn, left, and colleague Alistair McKean, who gave him CPR. Picture: Jane Barlow
Have your say

A FATHER-of-two has hailed colleagues whose quick-thinking actions saved his life when his heart stopped beating for 20 minutes.

It had been a normal day for Iain Gunn, 47, who was at his work as a mechanical engineer at Finmeccanica – Selex ES, at Crewe Toll.

When he suddenly collapsed from a cardiac arrest, colleague Alistair 
McKean thought he was joking.

Alistair, 48, said: “I thought he must have had a fit but when he was laid on the ground he was completely white and his pulse had stopped.

“I suddenly thought he might have had a heart attack so I just started doing CPR and got someone to run for the first aiders we have on site.”

Despite having little first aid training, Alistair carried out CPR for nearly five minutes until one of the company’s nurses, June Morrison, arrived to give Iain oxygen and to restart his heart with their defibrillator.

Paramedics arrived soon after along with Medic One – a team of emergency doctors based at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Alistair, of South Gyle, said: “It was definitely pretty scary but you just get on with it.”

Iain was taken to the ERI where he spent two days in a medically induced coma. He was on the ward for two weeks before his wife, Diane, and children Chloe, 19, and Jack, 13, were able to take him home.

He has also had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted – a matchbox-sized device inserted into his chest which shocks the heart back into normal rhythm.

He said: “I’ve been told that it was Ally and the nurse who did the absolute best thing they could. Although my heart had stopped, the CPR was 
giving me oxygen so I didn’t get brain damage. I’m so glad we had that defibrillator. They did an amazing job, 20 minutes is quite a long time to be down.

“I’m lucky the guys were there to help me.”

Iain, from Gorgie, also praised the Evening News’ Shockingly Easy campaign, which was set up with the Jamie Skinner Foundation to increase defibrillator provision in Lothian. He said: “If we can do something to help others then that’s a great thing.”

The first aiders’ actions were hailed by paramedics, who met up with Iain last week.

Dr Angela Oglesby, chairwoman of the Medic One Trust, said: “Iain was extremely lucky to have received CPR from work colleagues. If they had hesitated, even for just for a minute, the outcome could have been very different.”

A Selex spokesman said: “Thanks to the calm, quick-thinking response of our employees, they were able to provide vital assistance using one of the defibrillators which we keep on site for just this kind of circumstance.”

How to help

THE News has joined the family of Jamie Skinner in launching the Shockingly Easy campaign. We hope to ensure there is a life-saving defibrillator in every Lothian sports centre. Here’s how to help:

• Make a donation or fundraise for a defibrillator Cheques payable to The Jamie Skinner Foundation can be sent to Shockingly Easy, The Edinburgh Evening News, Orchard Brae House, 30 Queensferry Road, EH4 2HS.

• Volunteer to host a defibrillator training session at your sports club Contact Sam Grieve at the Scottish Ambulance Service by e-mailing

• Apply for funding for a device E-mail for an application form.