A former soldier who was classed as being dead for 23 minutes has been reunited with the man who saved his life.
James Shannon, 66, fell to the floor ‘like a sack of spuds’ when he suffered a cardiac arrest – when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood.
Luckily, Chris Massingham, 26, was on hand to perform CPR for almost half an hour until paramedics turned up – despite having no first aid training.
When the pair reunited on the same road where the incident happened, the retired army veteran hugged Mr Massingham, who he said is a ‘good lad’.
Mr Shannon, from Merseyside, also gave him a teddy bear for his newborn son, Leo, emblazoned with ‘my daddy’s a superhero’.
James Shannon (right), 66, fell to the floor ‘like a sack of spuds’ when he suffered a cardiac arrest – when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood. Luckily, Chris Massingham (left) was on hand to perform CPR for almost half an hour until paramedics turned up – despite having no first aid training
Mr Shannon doesn’t remember anything that happened on the day of his cardiac arrest.
He said: ‘I can only go on what I was told as I don’t remember anything about that day, but I know I was technically dead for 23 minutes.
Mr Shannon said he wasn’t originally planning on going to the shop – but ventured out to put a bet on and pick up food for his dinner.
He added if he hadn’t have gone to the shops, he would have been in the flat on his own and would have died.
Mr Shannon said: ‘Since looking back and putting everything in order it becomes more and more unbelievable.
‘Someone is definitely looking down on me, there’s just too many factors there that don’t make sense.’
Mr Shannon doesn’t remember anything that happened on the day of his cardiac arrest (pictured meeting the Queen in 1972, closest to her)
When the pair reunited on the same road where the incident happened, the retired army veteran hugged Mr Massingham. Mr Shannon, from Merseyside, also gave him a teddy bear for his newborn son, Leo, emblazoned with ‘my daddy’s a superhero’
A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body, which is usually due to a problem with electrical signals in the organ.
This causes the brain to be starved of oxygen, which results in sufferers not breathing and losing consciousness.
In the UK, more than 30,000 cardiac arrests occur a year outside of hospital, compared to over 356,000 in the US.
Cardiac arrests are different to heart attacks, with the latter occurring when blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off due to a clot in one of the coronary arteries.
Common causes include heart attacks, heart disease and heart muscle inflammation.
Drug overdose and losing a large amount of blood can also be to blame.
Giving an electric shock through the chest wall via a defibrillator can start the heart again.
In the meantime, CPR can keep oxygen circulating around the body.
Mr Massingham, a freight operations clerk, recalled how the scene unfolded during his trip to get mushrooms.
He said: ‘I heard a thump across the road and I looked over and saw two ladies helping a man on the floor.
‘I went over and noticed they didn’t have him in the recovery position so I moved him into that.’
Mr Massingham added: ‘His eyes were glazed and barely open and his tongue was at the roof of his mouth.
‘One of the women started performing CPR but it didn’t seem to be working so we agreed between us that I should take over.
‘After the ambulance service arrived, I said “I only popped out to get mushrooms” and one guy patted me on the back and said “well you’ve saved a life”.’
Mr Massingham performed CPR until ambulance crews finally arrived and whisked Mr Shannon to Liverpool’s Broadgreen Hospital.
Paramedics have since told Mr Shannon that his life was saved by the quick-thinking strangers who helped him when he collapsed.
After he was discharged from hospital, Mr Shannon, a grandfather-of-six, was eager to meet his hero.
Mr Massingham performed CPR until ambulance crews finally arrived and whisked Mr Shannon to Liverpool’s Broadgreen Hospital
Mr Massingham said: ‘I didn’t feel scared when I was doing it, I think I just had a rush of adrenaline, I just knew it had to be done.
‘But when they asked me to stop and I started looking at the scene and thinking about his family, the situation started to dawn on me a bit.
‘I was shaky for a few hours after it had happened, as soon as I got back home I got a beer from the fridge. As I left everyone involved was saying well done to each other.
‘When I met James in person it took me back because I could see the life in his face, it was quite strange but I’m so thankful I popped out for mushrooms that day.’
Mr Shannon added: ‘I think I’ve dodged a bullet. I think about it all the time. There’s no way I can pay him back for what he did that day.
‘Meeting up was quite emotional because I know it could have been the end for me.
‘I gave him a hug and shook his hand. We sat and had a chat and we exchanged phone numbers. He’s a really good lad.’
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