Off-duty nurses save cyclist’s life at side of the road

Mental health team performed CPR on man who had gone into cardiac arrest  

Mental health team performed CPR on man who had gone into cardiac arrest  

Apexa Patel, Kerry Barnacle and 
Katie Abram

Two off-duty nurses intervened to help save the life of a cyclist who was having a heart attack by the side of the road.

Deputy ward sister Kerry Barnacle and staff nurse Katie Abram, from the Bradgate Mental Health Unit at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT), spotted the man while travelling to take part in a fundraising walk.

The mental health nurses were with therapeutic liaison worker Apexa Patel when they saw the 54-year-old man, who had collapsed four miles into a 40-mile ride.

Quick reaction

Ms Patel said: ‘We were heading for the start of our walk when Katie noticed the man with his cycling companion.

‘We stopped to help and found he was barely conscious. Within seconds he had stopped responding and gone into cardiac arrest.

‘Kerry began CPR and I rushed off to locate the nearest defibrillator machine – luckily it was outside a shop not too far away.’

Ms Abram said: ‘Apexa was back within a couple of minutes and I administered the shock.’

Have you ever used your clinical skills in an emergency or out-of-work situation? Share your story by emailing

By another unusual stroke of luck, two other nurses arrived on the scene. One of these was LPT intensive community support service clinical nurse lead Andy Fawcett, who helped with the resuscitation.  

Team effort

‘We took turns giving chest compressions,’ explained Ms Barnacle.

Andy Fawcett

‘Andy – whom we didn’t know – approached with a pocket mask, which helped with giving resuscitation breaths when needed. 

‘After the emergency services arrived, Katie spoke to the man’s cycling companion and reassured him, as he was clearly in shock.

‘It was a real team effort from all involved. Everyone helped to save the man’s life.’

Grateful thanks

The cyclist, who has no memory of the drama on the day, is recovering at home after being treated at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

He said: ‘I can’t thank all of the NHS staff involved enough.

‘And I can’t believe how things came together to save my life – the chances of these people just being there on the day are unbelievable.’

The mental health team went on to complete a 17.4 mile trek, so far raising around £800 towards their £2,000 target to boost the range of therapeutic activities they can provide for their acutely unwell patients.

Further information

Donate to the mental health team’s fundraising appeal

In other news

Parents’ praise for nurses who delivered baby in hospital car park

RCNi Nurse Awards 2019: find out who is in the finals


This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.