'Fantastic feeling': Off-duty doctor hailed a hero for saving Newcastle fan's life

18 October 2021, 18:17

Dr Tom Prichard rushed to the medical emergency in the stands.
Dr Tom Prichard rushed to the medical emergency in the stands. Picture: Getty

By Megan Hinton

An off-duty doctor has been hailed a “hero” after saving a football fan’s life on Sunday night during the Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United game.

Accident and Emergency doctor, Tom Prichard, found himself performing CPR on a fellow fan after the man collapsed in the stand during the 41st minute of the game.

The match was suspended for more than 20 minutes as Dr Prichard and others worked to stabilise the man who had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Now Dr Prichard, a consultant at University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton, has been praised for helping save the elderly man’s life.

Fans were heard cheering the doctor and chanting “hero” throughout the stadium whilst striker Allan Saint-Maximin shared his gratitude online, taking to Twitter to ask for his contact details in order to thank him personally.

The consultant has said that hearing thousands of fans chanting “hero” was one of the best moments of his life but that it was not a lone effort to save the man.

He said: "I had a friend helping out, another two doctors - St John's (Ambulance) were brilliant, the club doctor came over as well to lend a hand.

"It really wasn't just me, but when I was walking back to my seat and 10,000 fans in the Gallowgate were chanting 'hero' at me, that was one of the best moments of my life.”

He continued: “It was quite emotional and I was welling up, but the most important thing is that [the fan] is ok. There's people online saying get this man a season ticket.

"I've already got one, I don't want any recognition for this - although a pint with Alan Shearer might be nice.”

A club statement from Newcastle United gave an update on the man's condition, writing: "NUFC can confirm that a supporter who required emergency medical treatment during today's game at St James’ Park is stable and responsive in hospital."

During the break in play, Sky Sports' David Ginola urged fans to learn CPR and Dr Prichard also reiterated this.

According to the British Heart Foundation, there are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year, with the overall survival rate less than one in 10.

Dr Prichard explained: "The fact this man was at the East Stand of St James' potentially saved his life, because there was doctors around to save him.

"If he was at home watching the match he might not have been so lucky.

"Early CPR and defibrillation in cardiac arrest is so important - it is what saved this man's life in the stand.

"If anybody in the public comes across someone in cardiac arrest, chest compressions until medical help arrives is what needs to happen."