VIDEO: Family’s praise for 999 lifesavers

A teenager whose heart stopped while he was playing football is helping to raise awareness of heart health during the ambulance service’s Heart Takeover week.

Rahul Patel, 16, from Luton, had a cardiac arrest at Lea Manor High School in December last year.

George Turner was the first paramedic on scene from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST).

He said: “Everyone was doing a fantastic job when we arrived. They did everything they could have done including CPR and administering a shock from a defibrillator – which they’d had installed just two weeks before. If it wasn’t for them Rahul probably wouldn’t have survived.

“Once we arrived we had to administer three further shocks with our defibrillator as his heart kept stopping, and as we rushed him to hospital we didn’t know if he would pull through.”

Just three days later, Rahul was sitting up in hospital talking, and he’s now been discharged from hospital and is making a good recovery.

His mother, Meeta Patel, said: “It couldn’t have happened at a better place . From the school and leisure centre staff, to the ambulance crews who attended, to the doctors at the hospital – their combined work meant that my son lived to see his 16th birthday, and hopefully has a long and healthy future ahead of him now.

“I can’t thank them all enough, there is no way we can ever repay them, nothing we can do that can ever make up for the fact they saved our son’s life. I’d encourage everyone to learn CPR and all public places to invest in a defibrillator as you never know when you might need to save a life.”

The Patel family recently visited EEAST to meet some of the people who helped save Rahul on that fateful day.

George said: “It was great to see Rahul, he looks so much better than he did when we were called to the job, as we really thought he might not survive. We rarely get to see patients so it was good to meet up with the family, talk through their experience, and show them around the ambulance station. They were very grateful, but at the end of the day we were just doing our job.”

A video of Rahul’s experience is available on the EEAST website, visit where you can also find out more about the Heart Takeover week that the service is running throughout the week.