A CYCLIST who went into cardiac arrest during a charity bike ride has said he is “eternally grateful” to a team of doctors who happened to be cycling right behind him and saved his life by performing CPR.
David Graney, 63, collapsed on a climb during the London to Brighton bike ride on Sunday September 10 but fortunately a team of 30 children’s specialist medics from St George’s Hospital were cycling directly behind him.
When the specialists saw Mr Graney fall from his bike, they rushed into action and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
Mr Graney, who is expected to make a full recovery, told the PA news agency: “I am eternally grateful to them.
“They absolutely saved my life and I owe them my life for that. I can’t thank them enough.”
He was raising funds in memory of his son, Nicholas, who died aged 10 from complications related to hydrocephalus 25 years ago this September, and to mark the anniversary of his wife’s death four years ago.
Mr Graney, a furniture manufacturer’s agent living near Salisbury, said he was “feeling absolutely fine”, “very confident”, and had “no symptoms” prior to going into cardiac arrest.
He said: “I don’t remember collapsing but my last recollection is overtaking my cycling partner halfway up Ditchling Beacon, towards the end of the ride just before Brighton.”
When Mr Graney collapsed, team members from St George’s Hospital rushed to help before he was taken to the top of Ditchling Beacon by an on-site paramedic.
He said: “Directly behind me and my partner was a team of, I’m told, about 30 (children’s specialists), but I think there were 16 of them directly behind me… and two of them immediately administered CPR to me within seconds of me collapsing.”
Mr Graney was then airlifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
Dr Nick Prince, a consultant paediatric intensivist, was part of the team participating in the London to Brighton bike ride to raise money for St George’s Hospital Charity’s Time for a Change Appeal.
He said: “It was a privilege to be there when David needed us, and certainly very fortunate timing.
“That single moment when his heart responded and started beating again made the whole day worthwhile. We are so pleased to hear he is home and doing well.
“It was a phenomenal response from first responders, ambulance teams, our hospital cycling team, and the air ambulance all together.
“We were cycling for St George’s Hospital Charity Children’s Appeal… to know that David was cycling for Child Bereavement UK in honour of his son is incredibly moving.”
Mr Graney had an angiogram at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, where he was fitted with a stent to open the blood flow to his heart the following morning.
He said: “When I was in the hospital, I had an angiogram and they discovered that the main vein entering the bottom of my heart was 90 per cent constricted, so it was squashing itself down.
“It was just a vein that was constricting itself and, as it turns out, it’s what my father died of at age 64 some years ago, and I’m 63, so it could be something there.”
Mr Graney is back home recovering with the help of his two other sons, his partner and his sister-in-law, and his doctor expects him to make a full recovery.
He said: “I am, to all intents and purposes, cured.”