Matthew's story: "I gained the confidence to help save someone's life"

Matthew Makin

When he found someone collapsed at the wheel of a car, Matthew Makin remembered what to do from his first aid at work course – and has since received an employee recognition award for his actions.

"Everything I had learnt kicked in"

Matthew was on his way home from work when he saw a driver who appeared to be collapsed at the wheel of a car, so he pulled over to a safe place and went to help.

Some people were at the scene already and Matthew asked one of them to call the emergency services.

"I had just attended a British Red Cross first aid course and everything I had learnt kicked in," Matthew said.

"I approached the man in the car and checked for signs of a response. He wasn't responding at all, so I tilted his head back to keep his airway open and listened for breathing."

Matthew watched for the man's chest moving up and down, but he wasn’t breathing. He said, "I knew then that I needed to give him chest compressions.

"When he was out of the car, I started to give 30 chest compressions followed by two breaths and I repeated this for what felt like forever".

Fortunately a passer-by had an automated external defibrillator (AED) in his car, which he had collected for a local music festival where he was volunteering as a British Red Cross first aider.

Matthew continued to give chest compressions while the passer-by switched on the AED – a machine that can shock the heart back into a normal rhythm – and then they both followed the instructions.

They worked together to deliver two shocks but the man still didn’t respond, so Matthew continued with the chest compressions.

The emergency services arrived shortly after to take the man to hospital, where he had emergency surgery and has since made a full recovery.

"I gained the confidence to help save someone's life"

Matthew said, "I wouldn't have had a clue what to do in this situation if I had not learned first aid. The knowledge I gained on the course kicked in and gave me the confidence to help save someone’s life."

He added, "Without doubt I would recommend learning first aid; you don't know when you are going to be required to use your first aid skills."

Following the incident Matthew received an employee recognition award and his employer made a donation to the British Red Cross.

Learn how to use an AED

AED training is included as standard on all our first aid at work courses.

Our emergency first aid at work and first aid at work courses feature the skills to help someone who is unresponsive and not breathing, including the use of an AED.

Book a course

© British Red Cross 2019