Doctors run to save a life

Posted on Wednesday 28th June 2017
Patient Paul Alexander with PICU staff who saved his life

Paul with doctors Claire Barker and Rachael Mitchell.

Two doctors from Evelina London’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) were taking part in a race for charity when they came across a fellow runner in trouble. Their quick actions helped to save his life.

Claire Barker and Rachael Mitchell were running the Vitality London 10,000 race with their team the PICU Trekkers, a group of staff from Evelina London’s PICU. About 40 minutes into the race they saw a fellow racer, Paul Alexander, 44, on the ground and went to help.

Paul was suffering a cardiac arrest. Working with an A&E consultant from King’s College Hospital and a paramedic who were also on the scene, Claire and Rachael performed CPR before using a defibrillator from a rapid response car to shock his heart, making it start beating again.

Paul was rushed to St Thomas’ Hospital where he underwent tests to find out what had caused his cardiac arrest. Days later, when Paul was starting to feel better, Claire and Rachael were reunited with him at his bedside, along with his wife Sarah, 41.

Paul, who has no memory of the race, said: “I was very lucky that the doctors happened to be there and that I was faster than them! They’re my heroes for saving my life and it was amazing, and very emotional, to meet them. It was incredible that they felt the responsibility to stop and help someone else – not everyone would. I’m so grateful.”

Claire and Rachael managed to finish the race once they were sure that Paul was in the safe hands of the ambulance crew. Altogether, their team, the PICU Trekkers managed to raise a brilliant £3,225, vital funds to support Evelina London’s sickest children.

Claire said: “What happened to Paul really shows how important it is to know how to give CPR effectively. If Paul’s blood hadn’t been pumped around for a while through CPR, the shock from the defibrillator wouldn’t have worked and his heart would not have started beating again.”

Rachael added: “It felt very different helping someone who needed urgent medical treatment out on the street rather than in the hospital setting that we’re used to. We're so pleased that we were able to use our skills to make sure Paul survived and it was great to be reunited with Paul to see his improvement!”

If you’d like to support Evelina London by taking on a challenge such as a race, visit our fundraising website.