Steven Staple needed urgent medical help, when he suffered a cardiac arrest while out riding his bike. His wife, Catherine, kindly shares their story with us...

The cardiac arrest

On Saturday 27th February, Steven went out for a bike ride at 8.30am, as he does most weekends. Towards the end of his ride, he suffered a cardiac arrest, which resulted in him falling backwards off his bike and becoming unconscious. Unaware of what happened, he remained unconscious for approximately five days.

Thankfully, as he fell, the traffic came to a standstill and a bystander and some people from a few cars behind came to his aid. Incredibly, one of his saviours was from the RNLI and was fully trained in CPR. Not only did this amazing man help Steven by administering CPR, but another man who also had some medical knowledge gave him mouth to mouth resuscitation. These two amazing saviours were the first in a long line of people that we now hold such a strong bond with, as they gave us something that we truly cannot repay – life!

The ambulance response

Approximately 10 minutes later, the Weymouth ambulance crew arrived on scene. At this point, they didn’t know if Steven had been hit by a car, or if he had fallen and then hit his head. He was shocked a few times with a defibrillator and as his bike helmet was so badly damaged, with the potential of him sustaining a serious head injury, the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance team were deployed.

They arrived on scene approximately 10 minutes later. At the roadside, Steven couldn’t breathe unaided, so he was intubated by your team. The decision was then made to take him to Southampton Hospital for further treatment. While he was in the air, Steven’s condition became unstable and he arrested two further times. It was at this point that I had been contacted and given the news, so my daughter and I immediately made our way to Southampton Hospital to be by his side.

Steven's time in hospital

That night, Steven was very unsettled and extremely poorly. The clear words that were given to us at the hospital were, “we will do all that we can”. The prognosis was not what we wanted to hear. Early on Sunday morning, Steven suffered a couple of brain seizures and was critically unwell. We spent most of the day with him and after many tests, scans, interventions to keep him stable and a vast amount of love and care, it was found that Steven had a hereditary heart condition, which we were unaware of. This had essentially been a ticking time bomb but thankfully, he had a stent inserted to his heart to rectify this.

Steven spent seven days in the General Intensive Care Unit, six days in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, then a further six days recovering on the Ward. There were so many ups and downs, long days and nights, wishing to hear the words “Steven is stable”. Finally, that day came. The speed of his recovery is very rare. We believed that Steven would be spending a long period of time in hospital, but to only remain there for just under three weeks is quite incredible. We had to wait a few days after his sedation medication was reduced before he regained consciousness. When he did wake up, Steven was not himself as he had suffered a hypoxic brain injury. Fortunately, he has almost completely recovered from this now, along with regaining himself back.

Reflecting on Steven's incident

This is not just our story, but the story of so many wonderful people who helped to save his life. We feel incredibly blessed, but of course this feeling is only felt because of the immense involvement of so many people. It felt really important that we should share our story with others.

One of the key contributing factors to my positivity throughout our journey, comes from the initial care that was provided by the two amazing people who were first on scene, the Weymouth ambulance crew and the team from Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. The team from Southampton Hospital also gave me such extreme strength, which enabled my thoughts to be positive during the darker moments of this journey. We would like to thank everyone involved from the bottom of our hearts, for helping to save Steven’s life on that fateful day.

NEXT: Grant's Story

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