How Strangers Became Friends After Fitness Instructor Saves Life With Defbrillator
A 26-year-old fitness instructor based in Cardiff says saving his client’s life after he suffered a cardiac arrest is one of the most empowering things he has done.
Kyle Baggett, who is originally from Builth Wells, is urging people across Wales to learn or refresh vital CPR and defibrillation skills.
Kyle, who was working at David Lloyd gyms in Cardiff at the time, didn’t expect that he would be saving a life when he went to work in December 2020.
He said: “It was just a normal Thursday at work. I was leading a fitness class like any other day when a member of the gym ran in to say there’s an emergency on the gym floor.
“I quickly rushed out to see John (Rawlins) lying on the floor with some other gym members around him. I could tell straight away it was a serious situation.”
John Rawlins was experiencing a cardiac arrest.
“We had to act quickly because we knew his only chance of survival was in our hands. One of the members started performing CPR while I rushed to get the defibrillator.
“We rang the emergency services immediately who then talked us through the whole process. I’m CPR trained but when you’re in the moment, it’s easy to forget some things, and the ambulance service was brilliant – very calm, clear, and precise, explaining exactly what we had to do.
“My mind was racing. In that situation, I had tunnel vision and I was fixed totally in the moment. I just wanted to save his life.”
John was rushed to the University Hospital of Wales where he was treated by the medical team. The recently retired sports lecturer, 64, from Machen, wasn’t aware he had any underlying health problems before the event.
John said: “I was a relatively fit man. I enjoyed cycling and going on long walks, and I was known to be a bit of a ‘gym junkie’. The morning of the event, I headed to the gym feeling fit and well, then next thing I know I’m waking up in hospital in a trance like state six weeks later.
“I have no recollection of the event. I can’t imagine what it was like for Kyle. His fast action with the defibrillator restarted my heart which allowed me to make it to hospital. Those vital first actions made all the difference.
“18 months have passed and really, I’ve made an excellent recovery. I’m now able to enjoy life with my wife, Anne. We love to walk, and we’re able to watch our granddaughters grow up which is really special. Life is good.”
Approximately 6,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in Wales every year. Both Kyle and John are now urging others across Wales to learn vital CPR skills.
John continued: “You never know what’s around the corner. If you’re ever in a situation where you need to act quickly and perform CPR, you’ve got nothing to lose. If Kyle hadn’t acted quickly and taken action that day, I certainly would have died.
“I would urge anyone that finds themselves in a similar situation to just act, it is the difference between life and death. The steps are simple, call 999, start CPR and send someone to get a defibrillator. People are sometimes worried that they will cause more harm. I had broken ribs from the CPR and defib but for me that is nothing in comparison to still being here today with my family.
Kyle said: “It’s such a relief to see John doing so well. We keep in contact regularly now and have become friends.
“A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Around 80% of them happen within the home, to your loved ones, and your actions could be the difference between life and death.”
“Even if you learn the skill just once, it can set you up to save someone’s life.”
Save a Life Cymru is committed to improving the chances of survival for people who suffer a cardiac arrest in the community, by providing people in Wales with an opportunity to learn lifesaving CPR skills.
For more information on the campaign, search gov.wales/save-a-life-cymru.