Doctors and nurses on the intensive care unit where he spent a month recovering called him ‘Miracle Man’.
That’s how serious the situation was for Calderdale fundraiser Neil Davidson when he had a cardiac arrest and subsequent open heart surgery.
And if it wasn’t for the quick-thinking actions of his son, Oliver, who performed CPR when his father suffered the attack in the middle of the night at his Shelf home then he would not have lived to tell the tale.
Mr Davidson, who goes 56 today, said: “I was just looking into the sky spaced out.
“My son was fortunately back from Australia – he was due to go back that morning – and my wife shouted for him.
“He came into the bedroom, saw that I wasn’t attentive or alert and he dragged me off the bed on to the floor. He did CPR for 22 minutes while my wife dialled 999.”
When paramedics arrived Mr Davidson was revived with a defibrillator and taken to Calderdale Royal Infirmary.
Oliver, who lives in Sydney, said: “I heard my mum shouting me from the bedroom next door. As I entered the room not knowing what to expect, I saw my mum in tears shaking my dad vigorously trying to wake him. I also tried to wake him a few times but there was simply no response. This is the point in which I knew that something wasn’t right, and we both had to act as quickly as we could.”
Mr Davidson had already been diagnosed with a heart murmur and was due to have surgery to correct a valve.
A nurse of nearly 30 years experience at Leeds General Infirmary, where Mr Davidson was later transferred, told him there were two or three nights she saw him before she left work and did not expect to see him the next day.
“I’m fortunate to be alive,” he said. “On the ward they used to call me ‘Miracle Man’.”
A report by the British Heart Foundation found fewer than 8 per cent of people who suffer a cardiac arrest survive.
“The chance of me surviving at home in the bedroom would have been very low. Never mind that it was outside of hospital and the middle of the night. If my son hadn’t have been there I would have died.
“There is no doubt about it, him having learned CPR came in very useful on that morning. Being quick-thinking in dragging me off the bed, onto the floor and doing the CPR saved my life.
“I’d like to thank my all my family for the tremendous support they have given me. And at Christmas I will go over to Australia to see my lifesaver again.”
Mr Davidson was recently invited to tell his story to children at Brooksbank School in Elland and is a campaigning for life-saving CPR training to be more widely taught.
And a group of ladies at Lightcliffe Gold Club recently raised £1,000 for Take Heart, a charity based at LGI.
Oliver initially learned to do CPR at Rishworth School when he was 16. He said: “By no means did I ever think I would have to do it in a real life situation nor on my actual dad.
“I certainly feel that more people of all ages should be encouraged to learn about CPR and the benefits it can have when faced in a life or death situation.”