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Back from the dead: Teenager survives 7 minutes with no heartbeat
HEART: Dan Edwards, 17, recovered from his trauma, and, inset below, Premiership footballer Fabrice Muamba, who suffered a similar cardiac arrest. Picture: Nick Toogood. 41151407
A TEENAGER described as “a walking miracle” is lucky to be alive after surviving a cardiac arrest at college.
Engineering student Dan Edwards, aged 17, collapsed and gashed his head on a computer table after running up stairs at Worcester College of Technology in Deansway, Worcester, to retrieve his coat.
His heart stopped beating for seven minutes after he suffered the cardiac arrest, similar to the one which nearly killed footballer Fabrice Muamba who collapsed on the pitch during an FA Cup match in March.
It was only thanks to the efforts of college staff who administered CPR that he survived.
Matt Harwood, the engineering manager, heard Dan fall and initially thought he had fainted, so he placed him in the recovery position.
But when he couldn’t find a pulse, Mr Harwood and college assessor Paul Mitchell began CPR.
They were joined by colleagues, including community first responder David Price, who took over the CPR, and Liam Martin, who shouted, “Come on Dan, you can make it!”, as they battled to revive him until paramedics arrived and restarted his heart with a defibrillator.
Dan, who collapsed on the top floor of the Cathedral Building at about 10.30am on Friday, September 28, said: “The only thing I can remember is feeling like I was in a swimming pool and I had fallen asleep. I could hear the faint voices of the paramedics calling my name. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m just relieved to still be here.”
Mr Harwood said: “We knew his life was in the balance. The paramedics were first class and reassured us we did the correct thing and had given him a fighting chance. It was almost like someone was smiling down on him.”
Dan was rushed to intensive care at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital where he spent four days in a coma while receiving 24-hour, one-to-one nursing care. He was placed on a ventilator and packed in ice to reduce the risk of him developing brain damage and did not recover consciousness until Monday, October 1.
Dan was then transferred to Laurel One, the hospital’s coronary care unit.
His mum, Sue Edwards, aged 40, of Wolsey Close, off Newtown Road, Worcester, said: “He’s a walking miracle. It was terrible – I didn’t want to come home. I didn’t want to leave him. It was such a relief when he recovered.”
His dad Darren Edwards, 42, said: “The nurses said, ‘There’s not a lot of people actually survive this’. There’s not many people who get a second chance. He was so strong – he surprised all the staff and the doctors.”
Dan has received more than 150 messages of support on Facebook and family and friends kept a bedside vigil, including his girlfriend, 15-year-old Aimee Knight, and sister, 11-year-old Megan Edwards, both pupils at Dan’s old school Nunnery Wood High School.
The family wanted to record their thanks to the college staff, paramedics and doctors and nurses who saved his life and said the standard of care he received was excellent. They also thanked friends, neighbours and the headteacher at Nunnery Wood for their support.
Dan, who was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, has now been fitted with a cardioverter defibrillator to regulate his heartbeat.
The device, slightly larger than a matchbox, monitors the heart rhythm and can deliver low-voltage electrical impulses to keep the heart beating correctly and larger shocks if needed.