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Lincolnshire athlete thanks neighbours who kept him alive after heart attack

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 26, 2012

Cliff Middleton

Gratitude: Ultra-distance athlete Cliff Middleton with Lives First Responders Nicola Flynn, left, and Yvette Ray who helped save his life when he collapsed in the road

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A West Lindsey athlete was saved by his neighbours after suffering a massive heart attack while out running.

Cliff Middleton was given CPR by three strangers after he collapsed in the street in Morton, near Gainsborough.

He also received first aid from volunteer Lives first responders, who managed to restart his heart while they waited for an ambulance.

Now, the ultra-distance veteran runner has met and thanked the team who saved him – and has vowed to refresh his own first aid skills.

Retired council planner Mr Middleton, 69, was in training for his tenth two-day Karrimor Mountain Marathon when he collapsed a few hundred yards of his home.

He had already overed 10km jogging with an 8kg weight in his backpack when he slumped to the ground unconscious.

Neighbour Phil White was returning from feeding his horses and witnessed the fall in Mill Lane.

He rushed to the nearby home of nursery nurse Ruth Mann, who immediately called 999, and the pair flagged down villager Mark Ranby who was driving past.

Then all three took turns to administer CPR heart massage under the instruction of an East Midlands Ambulance Service call-taker.

Gainsborough Lives First Responders co-ordinator Nicola Flynn and colleague Yvette Ray arrived within minutes and went to Mr Middleton's aid.

And paramedics soon reached the scene to take the patient to Scunthorpe Hospital – where he had heart surgery and came around in the intensive care unit two days after the drama at 6pm on Wednesday, October 17.

But the leader of the town's 11-strong First Responder team told Mr Middleton that his neighbours' actions had proved crucial to his recovery. "It really was a miracle that it

all came together exactly as it should when someone has a cardiac arrest," said mum-of-three Miss Flynn, of Nelson Street in the town. "When Yvette and I arrived we found a bystander [Mr Ranby] doing very good CPR.

"We delivered a shock immediately, continued the CPR for about five minutes and got a pulse and regular breathing.

"They really did save his life because what happens in the few minutes after a patient has a heart attack determines their chances of survival."

The runner's 30-year-old favourite T-shirt had to be cut off

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him by the ambulance crew. It was a memento of his proudest achievement – when he ran the South Downs 80-mile course in 1992.

Now, the ripped garment has been framed and takes pride of place in his living room.

Grateful father-of-three and grandfather Mr Middleton, of Southlands Drive in Morton, has met and thanked all his new friends.

"This just proves that the people to whom I owe my life certainly weren't the walk-on-by types afraid of getting involved when someone is in serious trouble," he said.

Wife Lucille, a 66-year-old retired occupational therapist, added her thanks to the group.

"It's just been brilliant how everybody responded that evening and we know he's lucky to be alive," she said.

The Middletons were so grateful that they have presented a £100 cheque to Miss Flynn for Gainsborough Lives – and the patient is signing up for a first aid refresher course.

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  • LIVES  |  November 26 2012, 11:59AM

    Well done to all who helped on the day, First a 'bystander' starts CPR then LIVES First Responders get there very quickly, an ambulance is there within minutes and A&E and the surgeons, nurses, support staff at the hospital do their work. Fantastic when it comes together, but the key here is Immediate CPR by the bystander, it keeps the brain oxygenated so it is receptive to the shock the heart receives, which ideally is delivered within 6 minutes. Now is the time if you don't know how to do to CPR get in touch with a local first aid organisation and LEARN CPR, it only takes minutes.......

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