Dr Tom Prichard was at Newcastle United’s game against Tottenham Hotspur with a mini ‘Toon army’ of St John’s Ambulance volunteers and medics when a fan collapsed
A doctor said having 10,000 fans chant “hero” after he saved a man who had a cardiac arrest during a Premier League game was a highlight of his life.
Dr Tom Prichard, 34, was hailed a hero on Monday after he leapt into action to bring the elderly supporter back to life.
The dad-of-two, believed to be in his 70s and at the game with a friend who is 92, collapsed in the stands and had his chest pumped by fans.
The drama was witnessed by millions on TV during Newcastle Utd’s 3-2 defeat by Spurs at St James Park on Sunday, the first match since the £305m Saudi-backed takeover of the club.
Tom, an emergency consultant at North Tees Hospital in Hartlepool, Co Durham as well as a doctor at Newcastle Thunder rugby league club, rushed from his seat and administered a defibrillator to restart the fan’s heart alongside a team of medics in the East Stand.
Have your say on this story in the comment section.
Emma J Francis Twitter)
Emma J Francis Twitter)
He paid tribute to the mini ‘Toon army’ of St John’s Ambulance volunteers and medics at the scene in the East Stand.
They included his friend, cancer specialist Dr Matt Anderson, retired nurse Ruth McDonald, United club doctor Joe Cosgrove, a cardiologist and another A&E doctor.
Tom, a season ticket holder at Newcastle for 14 years, told the Mirror: “It all happened very quickly.
“I saw there was a commotion in the stands near me, and when I got there they were doing CPR on him as he lay across the seats.
“St John’s Ambulance had the pads on him and I gave a shock and helped with the CPR to get a pulse back.
“It was a real team effort. St John’s Ambulance did brilliantly as it is not easy doing that with 50,000 fans looking on.
“This fan was very lucky, he had such great help around him. There was me, Matty, a cardiologist, a nurse, the club doctor and an A&E doctor.”
Tom was lauded by 10,000 fans in the Gallowgate end of the packed ground as he returned to his seat.
They chanted ‘hero’ in what he described ‘one of the proudest moments in my life’.
“It was the second greatest thing to happen to me after getting married,” Tom, of Newcastle, said.
“It was a great feeling.” He was unaware the game had been halted for 24 minutes until he received a standing ovation from fans, in touching moments captured on Twitter.
“I went into overdrive and focussed on what I needed to do,” he said. “I was completely unaware of what was happening on the pitch behind me.”
The Mirror is campaigning to get a defibrillator in every public building in the UK and Tom added: “That is a fantastic idea, I support that campaign.
“I don’t want to be a hero, this is not about the glitz and the glamour.
“I am not on social media, I just want to get the message out on how to save lives.
“Early CPR and use of the defibrillator were vital – just as they were with Christian Eriksen.”
Get the latest news you want direct to your inbox. Sign up to one of the Mirror’s newsletters
Denmark midfielder Eriksen was saved after a cardiac arrest in a Euro 2020 clash with Iceland in June.
Matt, who works at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, helped another fan who also had a cardiac arrest outside Old Trafford following a Man Utd game just two weeks ago.
He used a defibrillator from a local restaurant to restart the fan’s heart after he ‘hit the ground’ in front of him in a car park outside the ground.
The fan also recovered. But Matt joked: “My friends don’t want to go to the match with me anymore.”
Mehrdad Ghodoussi, whose wife, Amanda Staveley, is leading the consortium which took over the club, said the Toon fan, named only as George, was stable.
He tweeted: “The real hero of the day thank you Dr. Prichard. Thankfully George is now in a stable condition and doing well.
“I’m sure the whole country is sending him positive vibes and he’ll be back in St James Park in no time at all.”
The fan’s son, Paul Smith Tweeted: “He seems ok at the moment, just a bit confused.
“Myself and my sister will be eternally grateful to everyone who helped save his life.
“I would love to thank everyone face to face if possible.”
Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin put out an appeal on Twitter to make contact with the doctors who helped.
A club spokesman thanked everyone involved in saving the fan’s life, and said that the system in place at St James Park for a medical emergency had worked well.
“Our best wishes go to the supporter and their loved ones and we hope for a swift and full recovery,” said a spokesman.
Spurs boss Nuno Espírito Santo said his players did very well to alert the referee to the emergency during the game.
He added: “There is nothing more important than human life.”
Edward Starr Photographer)
Julie Gillon, chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said they were ‘incredibly proud’ of Tom’s exploits.
“Tom is a great example of the compassion and commitment NHS colleagues demonstrate every day,” she added.
“This sad incident also brings to light the need for as many people as possible to take up training in first aid and basic life support.
Hopefully, you will never need to save a life but it’s always useful to have that knowledge just in case.
“We wish the fan a full and swift recovery and thank Tom for his brilliant efforts during this unexpected incident.”