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Doctors save life of heart victim

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

By Mike Byrne

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A RETIRED police sergeant who collapsed with a heart attack at an Exeter gym was shocked back to life thanks to a quick-thinking husband and wife team.

Now the couple, both leading doctors, say the near-death drama underlined the need for lifesaving defibrillators to be more generally available.

The middle aged former officer had just completed a stint on a static bicycle and moved to the lounge area of the David Lloyd gym at Sandy Gate when he suddenly fell, gasping for air.

Sitting next to him was Dr Ansa Akram, a consultant orthodontist at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.

Dr Akram rushed to the man's aid but was unable to find a pulse – and called her husband Dr Usman Ejaz Sheikh, a cariologist, who was also in the gym.

Dr Akram said: "The man had been to a spinning class. In fact he had been next to me and had really been going for it.

"When the class ended we all went downstairs to the lounge and it was there that he suddenly collapsed.

"He was having a heart attack, gasping for air. I could not find a pulse and I called for my husband and called for an ambulance.

"Usman arrived straight away, he started chest compressions and called for a defibrillator.

"He shocked the patient and the patient responded almost straight away."

"The ambulance arrived, but with heart attacks it is the first three or four minutes which are crucial, and it shows how defibrillators are lifesavers. It was really good that David Lloyd had one so quickly available."

Dr Sheikh, 35, said: "My wife had been to a spinning class and I was going to meet her in the lounge when there was an announcement on the loud speaker and I received a call on my phone from my wife.

"The man was gasping for air and was sweaty and I could assess he was having a myocardial infarction. There was no pulse. I immediately started cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

"I called for the defibrillator and I shocked the patient and gave more CPR. He vomited and his pulse returned.

"The ambulance arrived and he was taken to accident and emergency at the Royal Devon and Exeter. There an ECG test showed he had suffered a heart attack. He had a stent inserted and I understand is recovering well.

"It was great that there was a defibrillator there, but it is essential people know how to use it in an emergency.

"I offered to come back and give them free lessons on the use of a defibrillator."

Dr Sheikh, who is in his fourth year of five in training to become a cardiologist, said: "It is the first time I have done this sort of thing outside a hospital. It happens in hospital but there it is a controlled environment."

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  • icc99  |  January 31 2013, 6:54PM

    As a member of David Lloyd who was present at the above incident I am appalled at the totally inaccurate report above. This report appears to be a blatant attempt at self publicity by the Sheik's, completely disregarding every one else who was also involved in this incident. The gentleman concerned did not come downstairs and suddenly collapse with Dr Akram rushing to his side! He was sitting on a sofa when he started to have difficulties. It was unclear what was happening but he appeared to be fitting. Another member, who was a theatre nurse at the RD&E, immediately went to his aid, getting him off the sofa and into the recovery position whilst calling for help from the staff. Dr Akram was standing nearby watching. It was only following a call put out for a doctor by the staff that caused Dr Sheikh to come down and join in the efforts to help. He did carry put CPR but it was the actions of the nurse carrying out mouth to mouth that caused the patient to vomit and then clear his airway and resume breathing. The fact that these efforts have been totally overlooked must be extremely insulting and hurtful to the nurse who, through her immediate and speedy efforts, saved this life. Signed An extremely disgusted David Lloyd member!

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