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Woman thanks paramedics who saved son’s life after football match cardiac arrest

Joseph Higgins had a cardiac arrest at an Old Firm game in April but was saved by nearby paramedics (Scottish Ambulance Service handout/PA)
Joseph Higgins had a cardiac arrest at an Old Firm game in April but was saved by nearby paramedics (Scottish Ambulance Service handout/PA)

The mother of a 26-year-old man who had a cardiac arrest at a football game has thanked paramedics for saving his life.

Joseph Higgins, of Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, was attending an Old Firm game on April 17 this year with his brother and friends.

As the 90-minute whistle was blown in the Scottish Cup semi-final between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden, Mr Higgins went to the concourse area saying he had started to feel unwell.

His mother, Ruth Downs, said it was at this point he suffered a cardiac arrest.

The 55-year-old said: “Initially we were unaware of how serious the situation was.

“The message I received was he had fainted.

“When at the hospital I don’t think I was able to process the seriousness of the situation.”

Mr Higgins spent the following 47 nights in hospital, Ms Downs said, where he was diagnosed with an undiagnosed hereditary heart defect.

“It is only now, after he’s home, it’s actually sunk in,” she said.

“It’s not usual to survive a cardiac arrest.

“However, being in the right place at the right time and beside staff who had the correct training saved his life.”

Thomas McCallum, ambulance technician (student paramedic), and Courtney Elaine Braceline, a newly qualified paramedic, were working at the match.

Ms Downs added: “As a mum, I just have no words that would even come close to expressing my gratitude to the staff who looked after Joseph – they literally saved his life.

“It would be impossible to put into words the depth of gratitude we as a family feel.

“Hopefully Joseph is well on the way to recovery and as a mum I want to express my thanks to the team for the amazing work on match day.”

Mr Higgins, who renewed his Celtic season ticket while still in hospital, said: “It is only now that I realise just how seriously unwell I was.

“I have very little memory of what actually happened.”

Mr McCallum added: “I’m glad to hear the patient is recovering well.

“Surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest requires a team approach and the patient’s good health is a credit to everyone that played a part in his care at the scene.

“CPR makes all the difference and is a simple task anyone can do, I recommend anyone that doesn’t know CPR learns now, you could save a life.”