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Jacob’s Story

In a heartbeat, Jacob’s life hung in the balance when the then 18-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest at his High Wycombe home in May. Now to mark World Restart a Heart on 16th October Jacob and his family have told how CPR saved his life.

Without the intervention of Jacob’s dad Adam, a serving police officer trained in CPR, he would almost certainly not have survived long enough for ambulance service paramedics and our crew to get to him and administer lifesaving critical care.

I remember thinking, I really didn’t feel well. It wasn’t so much my heart but I really didn’t feel well generally. I remember having a sip of my drink and thinking, I have to tell dad. And then from what I have been told I started speaking gibberish and no one could understand me before I fell to the floor.


Jacob’s cardiomyopathy had caused his heart to stop, he was seriously ill and urgently needed critical care. The paramedics delivered two defibrillator shocks which reset his heart back into a regular rhythm, before taking him to Harefield Hospital, a specialist heart unit.

At the time we didn’t know how rare it is to survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest. It wasn’t until afterwards we realised how rare Jacob’s survival was.

We were told that had CPR not started within another 30 secs there’s nothing anyone would have been able to do. I can’t believe how lucky we were on that day.

This experience has definitely made me more aware of CPR. Anybody in the general population who can save a life until the air ambulance gets there – that’s an amazing thing to do.

Jacob’s Mother, Marianne Selby-Boothroyd encourages everyone to learn how to perform CPR.

In all, Jacob was in hospital for just seven days and was discharged two days after surgery to implant an ICD, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, which will deliver small electric shocks if his heart beats irregularly. Jacob has made a full recovery and is now enjoying his first year at university, while occasionally being reminded by mum Marianne to enjoy everything in moderation.

Before he set off for his film production course, Jacob visited RAF Benson, where our operations are based, to meet Critical Care Paramedics Nick and Simon who treated him.

I wanted to come and thank the crew properly and get some insight from their point of view. I don’t really remember them from the day, so it was great to come here and thank them


We attended almost 500 (489) cardiac arrest patients last year, bringing them the advanced procedures and drugs which critical care paramedics and doctors are trained in delivering. Cardiac arrest patients accounted for 32% of our callouts in 2021.

Without Adam’s intervention our job would have been almost impossible. Knowing and being able to perform CPR really is a lifesaving skill and helps us when we arrive at a patient’s side. “I remember Jacob asking for the football score – he wanted to know if Spurs had won! I know Jacob doesn’t remember our first meeting, but it was good to see him under better circumstances.

Nick, Critical Care Paramedic