Case Study: Neil - "I would have likely died if my son hadn’t have been there"

When 55 year old Neil Davidson went to bed in July 2017, he wasn’t expecting to wake up in hospital. Were it not for the quick thinking of his son, Oliver, he might not have woken up at all.

On 31 July 2017, 25 year old Oliver went to sleep expecting to head back to Australia in the morning, where he lived and worked. In the middle of the night, he was awoken by his mother shouting for help. At 3am Neil suffered a cardiac arrest in bed. His wife awoke to find him unresponsive and yelled for help, at which point his son Oliver came running in.

Oliver had learned CPR in school when he was 16. He had never used it, or practiced it since the day he learned it - but when he saw his father in distress, he put his skills to use. Oliver dragged Neil off of the bed and began CPR. He performed chest compressions for around 15 minutes while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

When the paramedics arrived, Neil was shocked four times with a defibrillator and taken to Calderdale Royal Hospital, before being transferred to Leeds General Infirmary. It was down to Oliver’s quick thinking and quick reactions that Neil survived his cardiac arrest - but Neil wasn’t out of the woods yet. He spent a further month in hospital while his family prepared for the worst.

Neil had previously been diagnosed with a heart murmur, and was scheduled for surgery to correct a valve when his cardiac arrest occurred. Once in the hospital, he underwent open heart surgery and spent a month in the intensive care unit recovering. His doctors and nurses called him the ‘Miracle Man’ after he made a complete recovery.

When asked about his experience, Neil doesn’t hesitate to express how lucky he is and how grateful he is for the quick reactions of his son Oliver.

I think I had a low chance of surviving at home in the middle of the night. If my son hadn’t have been there... I would have likely died.
Neil Davidson

Neil continued: “There is no doubt about it, him having learned CPR came in very useful on that morning. Being quick-thinking in dragging me off the bed, onto the floor and doing the CPR saved my life.”

His son is grateful also. He learned CPR at the age of 16 at Rishworth School in Halifax, with no expectation to ever need to use it. He said: “By no means did I ever think I would have to do it in a real life situation nor on my actual dad. I certainly feel that more people of all ages should be encouraged to learn about CPR and the benefits it can have when faced in a life or death situation.”

Oliver now works in Australia and has retrained to work in healthcare, inspired by his actions on that day. Neil now fundraises for new defibrillators in his community and actively ensures local devices are fully functioning, replacing parts when necessary.