'CPR should be taught in schools' says Kidderminster heart attack survivor

Kidderminster Shuttle: Life saver: John Forsyth practising chest compressions with instructor Judy Hancox of Wyre Forest Take Heart. Picture: Miriam Balfry. 491341M. Life saver: John Forsyth practising chest compressions with instructor Judy Hancox of Wyre Forest Take Heart. Picture: Miriam Balfry. 491341M.

A KIDDERMINSTER man who survived a heart attack after his neighbour resuscitated him has called on more people to learn CPR.

John Forsyth, 72, said since the incident he had learned cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and joined support group Wyre Forest Take Heart.

Mr Forsyth, of Linden Avenue, collapsed in his driveway in July, 2011. His neighbour, Greg Catherwood, acted immediately to put him into the recovery position and started chest compressions while Mr Catherwood’s wife, Karen, called an ambulance.

Retired engineer Mr Forsyth told The Shuttle being fit had helped speed up his rehabilitation and he had been “scooped up by this amazing support system in Kidderminster”.

“I had not met anybody else who had received CPR,” he said. “Having experienced the benefits of CPR and the change in my life I attended a course in emergency life support in 2011.

“This should be built into the school curriculum for everyone to learn. Once you have learned it, it stays with you forever and you could need it anywhere, in any situation, to save a life.”

Mr Forsyth said groups like Wyre Forest Take Heart supported heart attack victims and their family with discussion groups and excercise classes, such as stride and stroll, and could also provide information on CPR classes.

The group has organised a carol concert with the Kinfayre Singers at Stourport Civic Centre, which will take place tonight and raise money for the cardiac rehabilitation unit at Kidderminster Hospital.

Mr Forsyth added the group was also trying to collect money to buy a defibrillator.

Following his heart attack, the Kidderminster pensioner spent a week in intensive care but had another cardiac arrest during his stay. He had an operation to fit a combined pacemaker and defibrillator and is back home and on the road to recovery.

At the time he told The Shuttle: “There’s no doubt about it, if [Mr Catherwood] hadn’t done the CPR I would have died.”

For more information or to contact Wyre Forest Take Heart, visit wyreforesttakeheart.org.uk

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