Published: 05:00, 17 June 2022
| Updated: 16:11, 17 June 2022
Two teaching assistants who saved the life of a 10-year-old boy after his heart stopped in the playground have spoken of the ordeal for the first time.
Little Yasser had just emerged from lunch at St Mary of Charity Primary School in Faversham when he suddenly collapsed.
Members of staff Rebecca Wood and Holly King were the first to tend to the youngster, administering CPR.
The pair worked to try to resuscitate Yasser until the arrival of ambulance crews, who tended to him for an hour before he was airlifted to a London hospital. They say it was plain he could die.
Mrs Wood told KentOnline: “I was walking from my classroom when some of the children ran up to me and said Yasser had fainted and there was lots of blood.
“I ran up to him and there were obvious signs he was in trouble, so I shouted at one of the adults in the playground to ring for an ambulance and to get Ms King, another first-aider.
“He wasn’t responsive and had irregular breathing. We both knew instantly that he needed CPR, so we started that.
“It took 10 minutes for the paramedics to arrive, but it felt longer.”
Before emergency services got to the school, the staff members – who had only received their first-aid qualifications in May 2021 – also connected Yasser to the school’s defibrillator.
The device was later used by emergency medics to shock him three times.
Immediately afterwards, on March 16, Mrs Wood and Miss King were told by paramedics that Yasser would have died if not for their swift actions.
A couple of hours later, the heroes also learned he was “responsive and talking” at hospital.
“We had a debrief with the emergency services afterwards, and they said there was a three-minute window to save his life and that we managed to do what we had to do,” Mrs Wood recalled.
“It’s exactly the same incident as what happened to the footballer Christian Eriksen.”
Denmark were playing Finland in the Euros last summer when former Tottenham star collapsed.
It was later revealed the 29-year-old midfielder, who required urgent treatment, had suffered a cardiac arrest.
He has since returned to professional football and played for Brentford in the Premier League last season.
The first-aiders say Yasser has now been fitted with a “mini defibrillator” near his heart.
It gives him a shock if it detects a dangerous irregularity in his chest.
Miss King added: “You do the first aid training, but you don’t actually think you’ll have to put that practise into place in school – you think you’re just going to put on a plaster or an ice pack on a bumped head.
“But when it comes to it, the adrenaline jumps in and you focus on needing to do what you’ve been trained to do and saving the boy’s life.
“The reality of what happened kicked in afterwards. My daughter is the same age as Yasser, so I kept thinking of her while I was doing it.”
The heroic pair have now been awarded the Royal Humane Society’s resuscitation certificates.
Its secretary, Andrew Chapman, said: “Thank goodness they were on the spot, knew what to do and as a result saved the boy’s life.
“It was a superb effort and they both thoroughly deserve the awards they are to receive.”
The Royal Humane Society, which was founded in 1774, is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.
Following the incident, pupils and staff from St Mary of Charity Primary School raised more than £3,300 for the air ambulance service.