Hero medics to be honoured for saving rugby fan’s life

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A rugby fan who suffered a near fatal heart attack at a game is to come face-to-face with the medics who saved his life this weekend.

Peter Owens, a 57-year-old father of two, collapsed in the Provident Stadium, Bradford, on July 19 while watching the game against Leigh Centurians.

By chance, Dr Young was nearby in the crowd and heard shouts for help. She saw Mr Owens clutch his chest before falling and pushed through fans to get to the scene, where she immediately began giving chest compressions, known as CPR. Volunteers for first aid charity St John Ambulance and a doctor are to be recognised on Sunday.

“I’m the luckiest man alive,” said Mr Owens, “It doesn’t bear thinking about, but had I been at home or out on my bike, I would be dead. I can’t wait to meet the people who saved me, so I can thank them in

person.”

A presentation will be made at half time during the game against Halifax RLFC on Sunday September 27. Dr Fran Young and first aiders Richard Walton, Terry Laycock and Paul Buckley are among those to be thanked for giving vital emergency treatment to 57-year-old Peter Owens of Lincoln Drive, Roberttown, Liversedge.

Dr Young, a GP at Tong Medical Practice and a lifelong Bulls supporter, praised the first aid volunteers.

She said: “St John were there so fast with the AED, they saved his life. That is what you need. With a cardiac arrest in the community, your chances of survival are very slim. If Mr Owens had been somewhere else, like on a bus, his chances would not have been good.

“They arrived with the AED and despite the technical difficulty, due to his position, they managed to put on the pads and got on with it. It was a real team effort that I was just a part of. You didn’t need a doctor – all you needed was proper first aid.”

The 40-year-old doctor, who by coincidence is married to the Bulls crowd doctor, added: “When he came round, the first thing Mr Owens asked was ‘What’s the score?’ so he had his priorities right!”

Richard Walton, a 24-year-old first aider and youth leader for St John Ambulance Shipley cadets, used the AED to restart Mr Owen’s heart.

Advanced first aider with a Keighley unit, Terry Laycock, gave the patient oxygen and Halifax unit leader, Paul Buckley, helped paramedics to lift him to the first aid post for further treatment once he was breathing.

Others members of the team due to receive commendations include Olivia Harnby and Kathy Thwaites of Bingley, Richard Harrison, of Keighley, Sue Burrows, from Elland, Halifax and Liam Cunningham, of Wakefield.

Mr Walton, a healthcare assistant at Calderdale Hospital cardiology unit, said: “I knew what I was doing and felt really calm. It seemed to take for ages but Mr Owens coughed and we could see he had started breathing again. It’s not one person that makes it happen, it’s a team.”

Mr Buckley, 38, of Waterloo, Huddersfield, was in charge of the team for the day. He said: “It’s hard to express how relieved and proud we are that we were able to save Mr Owens. The whole team was really professional.”