A QUICK-ACTING estate agent has saved a man’s life after copying the CPR moves of football hard man Vinnie Jones in a charity advert.
Lettings manager Sharon Shankster said the TV ad gave her the confidence to perform the resuscitation for almost 30 minutes until an ambulance crew arrived.
The 58-year-old and her colleague, lettings negotiator Noura Mehdinejad, 23, leapt into action when Gerry Fitzgerald had a heart attack in Northfields estate agents, Northfield Avenue.
Ms Shankster said: “One of the guys fitting the carpet upstairs came down and told us to phone an ambulance. I just thought one had cut himself. But when I went up I saw the gentleman curled up in the corner looking blue. The other two carpet fitters turned him over, I pushed his head back and he gasped.
"I haven’t had any first aid training but I saw the advert in my head and started doing CPR."
In the British Heart Foundation advert Vinnie Jones instructs first aiders in hands-only CPR, advising them to pump the casualty’s chest while humming the Bee Gees’ hit Stayin’ Alive to keep a rhythm of 100 to 120 compressions a minute.
Ms Shankster said: "I knew I had to push quite hard but couldn’t remember the song so I said to the other carpet fitters ‘sing, sing’. They probably wondered what I was doing. The poor guy’s dying and I’m asking them to sing. I just tried to keep calm and not panic."
Ms Mehdinejad called out the rhythm to Ms Shankster aided by the emergency operator and the pair were doing such a good job that the paramedic asked them to continue when he arrived, freeing him up to do other things.
An ambulance crew arrived and took over a while later.
Ms Shankster said: "I was probably doing it for about 20 to 30 minutes, but it felt like forever. I just knew I couldn’t stop. The advert gave me the confidence to act but it all happened too quickly to think about it. You’d think anyone would’ve done the same thing."
Mr Fitzgerald has since had a triple bypass operation and is currently in New Zealand where he saw his daughter get married.
The ad has been relaunched so more people can see the life-saving message. The charity says only about 20 per cent of heart attack patients survive if not near a medic.
Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Many people can survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest but only if they receive immediate CPR. Sadly, in the vast majority of cases in the UK this doesn’t happen. We know hands-only CPR works, but more bystanders need to step in if we’re ever to see the majority become the minority."
The advert has prompted Southall MP Virendra Sharma to call for first aid training in schools.
He said: "Stepping in and helping to save someone’s life in an emergency shouldn’t just be left to the hard men. By teaching life-saving skills in schools, we could put hundreds of thousands of new life-savers on the streets each year."