Referee shares story of heart attack in Rainworth to thank air ambulance for saving his life

A grandfather who suffered a heart attack while officiating at a football match in Rainworth has thanked the air ambulance for saving his life.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 11:26 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 12:12 pm

The part played by the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance in the chain of survival has been highlighted in the case of Andrew Jarvis, who suffered a cardiac arrest when he was officiating at a football match.

Mr Jarvis, who was aged 60 at the time of the incident, collapsed at Rainworth Miners Welfare FC's home ground on Kirklington Road where he was assistant referee for a game against Sheffield side Hallam FC.

By the time the helicopter landed at the scene, Andrew had been given cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the football club’s defibrillator had been used to restart his heart – both crucial and essential to Andrew’s survival.

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Andrew Jarvis with Shannon Brooks, Hallam FC’s physio, who also plays for SJR Worksop Women FC, who used a defibrillator to treat him.

To give his heart the best chance of recovering and to improve his oxygen levels, the DLRAA critical care crew anaesthetised and intubated Andrew – medical interventions normally only carried out in hospital – to stabilise him for transfer to hospital.

After the lifesaving actions, it was imperative to get him as quickly as possible to hospital where the cardiac surgery he urgently needed could take place.

It took the air ambulance just 13 minutes to fly to Royal Derby Hospital, compared with a road journey of at least 45 minutes.

Within minutes of landing at the hospital, Andrew was being treated by cardiac specialists who fitted a stent to widen a blocked artery.

Three days later, he was well enough to go home.

Mr Jarvis said: “It was touch and go for a while. My condition was critical and I could have been brain damaged, but luckily I am alive and okay.

“I am so thankful to everyone who helped.

“I got quality treatment from highly skilled people at the scene and then was transferred straight to where I needed to be for a lifesaving procedure.”

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Since the incident in August 2021, Andrew has joined forces with Shannon Brooks, the Hallam physiotherapist who gave him CPR, to raise enough money to provide three defibrillators at non-league football grounds.

He also wants to promote the work of the air ambulance.

He said: “I knew the air ambulance is a charity, but didn’t realise it relies totally on donations and fundraising to keep operational.

“This is why I want to use my story to help raise awareness of and funds for the lifesaving work they do every day of the year.”

A retired teacher, Mr Jarvis, of Worksop, is hoping to become a volunteer speaker for the charity now he is feeling better.

Just 10 months after his cardiac arrest, he now walks every day, goes to the gym, swims and is thinking about going back to refereeing.

But one thing he knows for sure is how fortunate he was to have been at the football club when he collapsed.

He said: “I was in the right place at the right time which meant the chain of survival worked for me.

“The emergency services were called quickly, I was given good-quality CPR, a defibrillator was available and was used and then I got the critical care at the scene with a rapid transfer to hospital.

“I am lucky to be alive and cannot thank everyone involved enough.”