Ben's first aid story: How using an AED helped save his colleague's life


Ben was at work in a gym when he received a call for help to save a colleague who was working as a gardener outside had become unwell and was unresponsive and not breathing on the grass.

Ben said, “I was just coming off the gym floor with a client when I received a call for help. I took the defibrillator with me just in case, as it’s attached to the wall outside of the gym.’’

When he arrived outside the building, Ben was joined by his colleagues who had called the emergency services.

Ben added, “There were a few people gathered around and I asked if anyone know what had happened. A colleague said that he was clutching at his stomach just before he fell to the ground.’’

Ben’s dad, who was on the phone being advised by the emergency services, told Ben to check the man’s breathing, and as he was not breathing, start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation(CPR). They then worked as a team to open the defibrillator and remove the man’s t-shirt so they could use the AED.

Ben said, “The man had stopped breathing and he was stone grey, so I didn’t hesitate once to start chest compressions. My colleague attached the defibrillator to his chest and it delivered three shocks. In between the shocks, we took turns with chest compressions whilst my dad stayed on the phone to the emergency services. After the fourth shock, the man took a big breath and started breathing again.

A massive surge of relief came over us as we could see colour returning to his face. At that point we realised that we had done our job in keeping this man alive and we couldn’t quite believe what would have had happened if we hadn’t been there.’’

The emergency services then arrived and stabilised the man before transferring him to hospital. They praised Ben and his colleagues for their efforts. The man subsequently spent some time recovering at home.

Ben added, “Since the incident we have ensured that the entire team at the gym are familiar with an AED, how to use it and where the AED is in the building.

I would like to thank the British Red Cross for the incredible courses that we have attended over the years. This is an example of where first aid training has literally saved a life and it has helped many of our clients and members at our gym when they have had accidents. First aid is a life-saving skill, and you never really know where you will need it. To have the confidence to perform CPR on someone or the simple skill of applying a bandage to a wound can really go a long way. I would highly recommend everyone to attend a first aid course if they haven’t done so already.’’

Ben's story is a strong reminder of the importance of learning first aid. At the British Red Cross, we offer a wide range of first aid training courses to help you to have the skills and confidence to act in a first aid emergency.