The Miracle Man - a year in reflection
On 31 July 2017, Neil Davidson experienced a cardiac arrest while sleeping.
His son Oliver, who had learned CPR in school 10 years prior, saved his life with his quick provision of CPR. Neil was taken to Calderdale Royal Hospital, before being transferred to Leeds General Infirmary where he made a full recovery and earned the nickname ‘Miracle Man’ for surviving against the odds.
He credits his survival to his son and the paramedics who came to his aid, and is determined to raise awareness of the value of life-saving CPR training in schools to make sure everyone has the best chance for survival. One year on, Neil, his wife Janice and son Oliver have met up with paramedics Sally and Liz to reflect on the night that changed his life.
“I don’t really remember the day at all,” says Neil. “It is a little strange!” Fortunately for Neil, Janice, Oliver, Liz and Sally are on hand to share their recollections of the evening and the months that followed.
At 3am, Neil suffered a cardiac arrest in bed. Janice 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 and dragged Neil off of the bed to perform CPR.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service paramedics Sally and Liz then arrived at Neil’s house. They remember it vividly, especially the rain and sharp turn on the staircase - and the difficulty of carrying Neil down it! They shocked Neil four times with a defibrillator and took him to Calderdale Royal Hospital, before being transferred to Leeds General Infirmary, where he made a full recovery, thanks to the excellent care he received.
Neil is incredibly fortunate to be alive - something he is aware of every day, saying “I know how lucky I am that my son did CPR and that Yorkshire Ambulance Service were on the scene so quickly to restart my heart.”
He is also quick to thank all the staff who cared for him in the A&E department, cardiology ward and intensive care units at both Calderdale and Leeds.
“It’s completely changed my life - CPR is so important when you have had a cardiac arrest. I have my own defibrillator inside my body, but everywhere I go now, I ask ‘where is the nearest AED and can anyone here do CPR?'"
It’s important to Neil to give back and ensure that as many people as possible learn life-saving CPR and defibrillation, so that more lives like his have the potential to be saved in the future.
On August 11th, he’s having an open CPR day at his local rugby club, and recently held a Comedy night to raise money for Calderdale Cardiology Ward 6 – a night which helped him total £20,000 raised for new equipment. The 11th will mark one year since his emergency heart valve replacement - another milestone in his survival.
“It’s completely changed my life - CPR is so important when you have had a cardiac arrest. I have my own defibrillator inside my body, but everywhere I go now, I ask ‘where is the nearest AED and can anyone here do CPR?’”
Since surviving, Neil is learning new things every day. He’s meeting and thanking all of the incredible individuals who contributed to his survival, but he’s also making time to appreciate all the events that he wouldn’t have been around for without his life-saving treatment - his wife’s birthday, their wedding anniversary - and he can’t wait to celebrate his Granddaughter’s second birthday, after missing her first while in the ICU.
Bystander CPR and early defibrillation gave Neil his life back. Learn more about what to do in an emergency by playing Lifesaver, any time, and where.