Brought back from the dead

John Burkam
John Burkam

A gym member was brought back from the dead after he collapsed and stopped breathing.

Hero gym manager John Burkam performed CPR after the 40-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest at DW Sports Fitness club on Wednesday morning.

John, of Redhouse Park, near Newport Pagnell, said: “When I got to him, he was still breathing. I shouted for someone to call the emergency services because he was unconscious. Then he stopped breathing.

“After that, I went into auto-pilot and just did what we learn in training.”

DW staff are given regular first aid training and refresher courses, with everyone learning how to perform CPR and use a defibrillator.

John was told that if he had used the defibrillator, it could have been potentially fatal as the man’s life was hanging in the balance. With his training John knew a defibrillator wasn’t required and CPR was his only option.

The gym was evacuated and people waited nervously outside for news. Paramedics arrived within five minutes and, once satisfied the patient was stabilised, they took him to Milton Keynes hospital.

As the Citizen went to press the man was still in a medically induced coma.

But while fellow gym members and staff were congratulating John, he admitted he didn’t feel like a hero.

The 27-year-old said: “I was really quite shaken up afterwards. Everyone was saying ‘well done’ but I don’t feel much like a hero.

“I responded to a code red alert put out by reception. I was just doing what anyone would have done.

“The worst I’ve had before was someone fainting on me, but it shows training we regularly have is vital.”

Daniel Penn, general manager at DW Sport Fitness, said: “Without a doubt, our John saved his life. The man wasn’t exercising at the time. All our staff have regular first aid courses, but you never expect something like this to happen.”

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service said: “We were on the scene in five minutes. A 40-year-old male suffered a medical emergency, and we took him to hospital.”