The shocking cardiac arrest Danish football player Christian Eriksen suffered during a highly-watched live football match showed people that cardiac issues do not discriminate. After cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) brought him ‘back’, Nicola Vassallo shared how CPR saved her husband’s life.
The Malta Resuscitation Council posted how the exact same thing happened to Vassallo’s 40-year-old husband Steffan in September 2020. Except he wasn’t surrounded by paramedics and doctors that could reach him in seconds: “All he had was me.”
It only took seconds for him to go unconscious and for Nicola to notice something was very wrong.
The first thing she did was open the front door wide and scream for help. “I returned to my husband, began what CPR I knew and called emergency services.”
After the second try, she finally got through to emergency services. “I begged them to come to us quickly. They stayed on the line with me, counting the seconds while I performed compressions and gave mouth to mouth. They got to us in seven minutes.”
She let the paramedics take over, and by that time her sister and brother in law came to console and help her. “Before they arrived, none of our neighbours responded to my plea for help. I was all alone.”
“Were you the one to perform CPR?” the paramedics asked Nicola before taking her husband to hospital. When she said yes, he fist bumped her: “You saved his life.”
In Malta, almost 40% of deaths are heart-related. Specialists have warned that heart failure in Malta is on the rise, yet awareness remains low.
Each year, 18 million people suffer a cardiac arrest. Only 10% live to tell the tale. The survival percentage of out-of-hospital incidents like Steffan’s is even lower.
“My husband looked death in the eye. But God had other plans, and said not today.”
Giving CPR within seconds is the only way to save lives from cardiac arrest. Steffan, Christian and millions of others are alive thanks to those around them that know CPR.
The Malta Resuscitation Council has been working to have CPR training introduced to the Maltese school curriculum – find out more by following this link.