Life-saving UCLan student commended

16 October 2023

Ibrahim Akram receives a special recognition certificate after springing into action to save a cricketer’s life after he went into cardiac arrest

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student has received a commendation for saving a man’s life.

Ibrahim Akram, who is in his second year of his BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science degree, received special recognition from the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) after springing into action when an opposition cricketer collapsed and had a cardiac arrest during a game.

The White Coppice Cricket Club all-rounder was playing in a T20 friendly match against Ingol Cricket Club in late August when the incident occurred.

He said: “The player had just finished making two runs before suddenly collapsing to the ground. I was fielding on the boundary but didn’t see the man fall.

“While I was running in from the boundary edge, I sensed something was seriously wrong as players closer to him started to gather. As I got there, I immediately recognised the signs of him going into cardiac arrest, so I prepared to start CPR while we got another player to ring 999.”

"It took 13 minutes of effective chest compressions and two shocks to resuscitate the patient. Thankfully he opened his eyes and was talking to me before paramedics arrived"

UCLan student paramedic Ibrahim Akram

The 21-year-old said put the man, believed to be in his 60s, on to his back and tilted his head back ensuring he had a clear airway. Ibrahim established he was gasping for air and had no pulse so swiftly started CPR. In the meantime, three players ran to the clubhouse to break open the public defibrillator.

Ibrahim, from Chorley, commented: “Once the defibrillator arrived, I applied the pads to his bare chest and followed instructions given by the device. It took 13 minutes of effective chest compressions and two shocks to resuscitate the patient. Thankfully he opened his eyes and was talking to me before paramedics arrived.”

The former Runshaw College and Albany Academy pupil, who also works at 999 Ambulance Emergency Operation Centre, said: “I recently completed my first-year placement at Morecambe Ambulance Station with my paramedic mentor Lindsay Bentham and during my time at Morecambe, I hadn’t been called out to a single cardiac arrest.

“Interestingly we actually had another fixture arranged that day, but it had been cancelled with another opposition, so we arranged a last-minute friendly game with Ingol. Having to take control of the situation without a paramedic overlooking my shoulder, as well as having no kit, was overwhelming but I applied my medical experience with my skills in a time critical situation which was inevitably saved his life.”

"You demonstrated skills and approaches which are exactly what our trust needs - calmness under pressure, willingness to be decisive and the ability to act"

Matt Dunn, Lancashire and Cumbria Consultant Paramedic

His paramedic mentor Lindsay Bentham brought these remarkable actions to the attention of senior bosses at NWAS who visited the University’s Preston Campus recently to present Ibrahim with a certificate of commendation.

Matt Dunn, Lancashire and Cumbria Consultant Paramedic, commented: “On behalf of NWAS, thank you, you demonstrated skills and approaches which are exactly what our trust needs - calmness under pressure, willingness to be decisive and the ability to act."

Dr Chris Grant, NWAS Executive Medical Director, added: “Actions such as this should be seen as inspirational and potentially drivers for change, highlighting the benefits of early intervention and defibrillation in the community.”

The patient, who required cardiac surgery, has since recovered and Ibrahim and White Coppice Cricket Club is hopeful of being able to meet him soon. The club is making a continuous effort through the winter months in promoting the need of defibrillators and help inspire other village cricket clubs to buy a defibrillator.

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Matt Dunn, Lancashire and Cumbria Consultant Paramedic, and UCLan student paramedic Ibrahim Akram
Matt Dunn, Lancashire and Cumbria Consultant Paramedic, and UCLan student paramedic Ibrahim Akram